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Author Topic: EP277: Rejiggering the Thingamajig  (Read 21542 times)

Devoted135

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Reply #25 on: February 01, 2011, 02:18:27 PM
haha, all she needed was a towel (since the nanocloud took care of the babelfish for her)!

though I think my favorite part was how the AI described her task to her: you're going to find a.... thingamajig. ...and you need to... jigger it. yeah. let's go with that.  :D



tinygaia

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Reply #26 on: February 01, 2011, 02:23:29 PM
though I think my favorite part was how the AI described her task to her: you're going to find a.... thingamajig. ...and you need to... jigger it. yeah. let's go with that.  :D

I'm a huge Terry Pratchett fan so I'm always in favor of any opportunity to use the phrase "meta-syntactic variable" in conversation.



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Reply #27 on: February 01, 2011, 03:24:56 PM
I'm very much enjoying being on the monthly seesaw with Mur.  As long as I get stories with parasites and dinosaurs and she gets stories that involve tact and wherewithal.

Hehe, now I am picturing Norm and Mur on a seesaw (or teeter-totter if you prefer) on a children playground.  Sharing Norm's side is this intelligent dino-mama with cowboy gun, which probably has had its tongue replaced by a creepy parasite.  And on Mur's side, she is sharing it with Tact and Wherewithal, who I imagine to be Pratchettian anthropomorphic personifications.  Tact has a waxed mustache, and Wherewithal is wearing a powdered wig.  :)



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Reply #28 on: February 01, 2011, 03:30:16 PM
Thank you, Escape Pod, for restoring my confidence in anthromorphic dinosaur stories!!   :D

This one was hilarious all around, beginning with the AI's condescending tone, and applying "thingamajig" and "rejiggering" to words that the t-rex could not possibly understand (although it turned out to be pretty easy to understand, the AI's assumption of non-comprehension was hilarious).  The Yosemite Sam gun was equally hilarious "I wouldn't be a very smart gun if I couldn't talk!", and this revealed even more the conniving nature of the AI--specifically, referring her to the only gun, waiting for it to attach permanently and then saying something along the lines of "regrettably, it is also insane", twould have been a good thing to know before it grafted on.

Hilarious and awesome fun!  I can understand why some think the ending is a bit of a letdown, but this did not even cross my mind because I was so thoroughly entertained by the rest.



Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #29 on: February 01, 2011, 05:38:04 PM
I'm very much enjoying being on the monthly seesaw with Mur.  As long as I get stories with parasites and dinosaurs and she gets stories that involve tact and wherewithal.

Hehe, now I am picturing Norm and Mur on a seesaw (or teeter-totter if you prefer) on a children playground.  Sharing Norm's side is this intelligent dino-mama with cowboy gun, which probably has had its tongue replaced by a creepy parasite.  And on Mur's side, she is sharing it with Tact and Wherewithal, who I imagine to be Pratchettian anthropomorphic personifications.  Tact has a waxed mustache, and Wherewithal is wearing a powdered wig.  :)
Pratchettian is an awesome word and I will try to use it in the next conversation I have.
"Two tickets for the movie please."
"Here you go Sir, have a good time."
"I wouldn't bother Time just for this, unless you didn't mean the Pratchettian anthropomorphic personification but instead were merely wishing me Enjoyment, who happens to be quite a good sport and a fun gal to hang with."
" ???  ??? "

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Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #30 on: February 01, 2011, 07:45:29 PM
I really enjoyed this story, at least while I was immersed in it.  Any questionable science that might have gotten my goat, as it sometimes has in previous stories, was quickly negated by the joyously silly framework.

Reading Scattercat's and others' points about Buddhism-as-McGuffin gave me some pause for thought, though in my (admittedly less than thorough) understanding of various belief systems, Buddhism has a stronger ideal of 'do no harm' than most religions, and that was the point on which the Thingamajig's actions were based.

That being said, I think, on further reflection, that I would have preferred that the Thingamajig learn about the precepts of Buddhism and then reject them in favour of its own moral code (possibly overlapping with and even being influenced by the Buddhism).  Having had harm done to it, it could certainly have sympathy for harm done to others and wish to avoid causing it for that reason alone, without any need to buy into an ancient, Earth-biased creed.

Unlike most here, I'm afraid I found that Ms. Johnson's reading detracted from the story.  As I have (I believe) enjoyed her readings in the past, I found that disappointing.

I kept being distracted by the fact that the characters didn't sound like they were depicted.  For me,  "‘Yee-haw!’ shouted the gun," is not as effective as, " ‘YEEEE-HAAWW!’ shouted the gun."  And, when it should have, the AI didn't have "a tone of such abysmal sorrow."  There are many stories where an understated, descriptive style is appropriate.  I don't feel that this is one of them.  The nature of this story called for a performance, not just a reading.

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham


Talia

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Reply #31 on: February 01, 2011, 09:07:29 PM
RE: the reading - I personally would have been annoyed by such theatrics in this piece, so I'm rather glad they were understated. The gun's personality was such that, amplified, would have quite irritated me.



eytanz

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Reply #32 on: February 01, 2011, 09:46:41 PM
I really enjoyed the setting and the story for most of it, but the ending fell flat for me. It's not quite that everything hinged on the thingamajig adopting Buddhism, but rather on how easily it came. I would have much preferred it if the dinosaur had in some way had to demonstrate why Buddhism is important, especially as the journey there involved her having to betray her own beliefs.

Also, she ended up stranded in the wilderness, wounded, with no food (and it was already established she was very hungry) and with predators all around. She may have helped the AIs reach an amiable compromise with the thingamajig, but the story made it seem like her problems are over, but really she's in quite a pickle.



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Reply #33 on: February 02, 2011, 12:41:58 AM
Actually, I thought the gradual spread of Buddhism through the story's characters - the dinosaur, the gun, the thingamajig... it was hillarious. I kept on cracking up and slapping the steering while. Priceless.

Yeah, that was genius. The gun actually started to remind me of a Buddhist duck hunter I once knew (honest!)

The reading was great too. I was toying with the idea of auditioning as a narrator, but not after this.



kibitzer

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Reply #34 on: February 02, 2011, 01:57:38 AM
RE: the reading - I personally would have been annoyed by such theatrics in this piece, so I'm rather glad they were understated. The gun's personality was such that, amplified, would have quite irritated me.

But that's just it... the gun was meant to be irritating.


Benvolio

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Reply #35 on: February 02, 2011, 01:39:40 PM
When Norm said "Steve Eley, wherever he is" was he being serious? Are they not still in contact? Norm and Mur are great. I love the Drabblecast. But I would still like to hear Steve's voice every now and then.



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Reply #36 on: February 02, 2011, 02:45:50 PM
When Norm said "Steve Eley, wherever he is" was he being serious? Are they not still in contact? Norm and Mur are great. I love the Drabblecast. But I would still like to hear Steve's voice every now and then.

Norm is ALWAYS serious.  Hadn't you noticed?




matweller

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Reply #37 on: February 02, 2011, 05:20:25 PM
When Norm said "Steve Eley, wherever he is" was he being serious? Are they not still in contact? Norm and Mur are great. I love the Drabblecast. But I would still like to hear Steve's voice every now and then.
Steve is still in the cloud. I follow his general movements on Twitter (http://twitter.com/sfeley), but we can probably kidnap him and make him read something if you need. I say that with Norm-level seriousness, of course.



tinygaia

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Reply #38 on: February 02, 2011, 07:47:16 PM
we can probably kidnap him and make him read something if you need.

I vote yes.



Talia

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Reply #39 on: February 02, 2011, 08:50:17 PM
And the EA forum's criminal element is born! :p



Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #40 on: February 02, 2011, 09:35:59 PM
RE: the reading - I personally would have been annoyed by such theatrics in this piece, so I'm rather glad they were understated. The gun's personality was such that, amplified, would have quite irritated me.

I didn't (necessarily) mean amplifying the gun's personality.  Just not dampening it, either, which, like Kibitzer, is the effect I got.

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham


iamafish

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Reply #41 on: February 04, 2011, 10:36:55 AM
And the EA forum's criminal element is born! :p

born? Ha.

There are some problems with this story, as many have pointed out, and I'd love to list them, but my mind cannot move past sentient, Buddhist, passivist, vegetarian, fucking dinosaurs with sentient, smart-arse, insane, fucking guns. seriously.


Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #42 on: February 04, 2011, 10:03:08 PM
There are some problems with this story, as many have pointed out, and I'd love to list them, but my mind cannot move past sentient, Buddhist, passivist, vegetarian, fucking dinosaurs with sentient, smart-arse, insane, fucking guns. seriously.

Wait, when were the dinosaurs or gun fucking?

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham


yicheng

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Reply #43 on: February 07, 2011, 05:58:13 PM
Awesome story!  I'll also jump on the bandwagon and say that between the Buddhist T-Rex, AI Machine gun, and trans-dimensional singularity aliens, there was nothing I disliked about it.  The Buddhist/Pacifist T-Rex was humorous to say the least, but as a semi-practicing Buddhist I feel that I should clear up some things:

1) Contrary to popular belief, some Buddhists are not vegetarians.  There is some historical evidence that Guatama Buddha himself was not vegetarian.  The earliest monks begged for food, and if that food was meat, it was better to eat it (as long as the animal wasn't explicitly killed to feed the monks) rather than let it go to waste.

2) Not all Buddhists are pacifists.  It was considered perfectly acceptable to use violence or even to kill in order to defend one-self or to prevent suffering.  As a shaolin creed goes:

Build rather than destroy
avoid rather than check
check rather than maim
maim rather than kill
for all life is precious and none can be replaced.



wakela

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Reply #44 on: February 08, 2011, 07:03:23 AM
But but but, you didn't really have a Buddhist, pacifist Tyrannosaur author of children's books.  Not really.  You had a protagonist who brought a magic thing to another magic thing.  The end.  Yeah, the idea of the Buddhist, pacifist Tyrannosaur author of children's books is cute and sort of clever, but the character doesn't do anything Buddhisty, Tyrannosaury, or authory.   Terry Pratchet and Douglas Adams are funny because they play with the absurdity, take it to the next, unexpected absurd level.

I found it difficult to accept that the the galactic transporter authorities had no contingency plan other than wait 12 years.

But I did like the story.  I chuckled in spots and I cared what happened.  I actually thought the Buddhism was well set up in that it was necessary at the end, but it didn't feel like a Chekov's religion.




wakela

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Reply #45 on: February 08, 2011, 07:07:03 AM
I'm wondering how many creatures humanity had to uplift before they got to the Tyrannosaurus freakin Rex.   I'm guessing all of them.  Because isn't the thing that, without even seeing one, we call a "tyrant lizard king" the absolute last thing you want to make smart?



Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #46 on: February 08, 2011, 08:03:30 AM
I'm wondering how many creatures humanity had to uplift before they got to the Tyrannosaurus freakin Rex.   I'm guessing all of them.  Because isn't the thing that, without even seeing one, we call a "tyrant lizard king" the absolute last thing you want to make smart?
I think it was last week, or perhaps the week before last, when scientists in Japan announced that they would clone a mammoth. Something to do with new techniques in repairing damaged chromosomes and gestating the baby mammoth in an elephant for two and a half years. One radio personality said "Well, we have finally found the only scientists on the planet who have not seen Jurassic Park."
So, how many creatures? I dunno, but it starts with mammoths.

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Reply #47 on: February 08, 2011, 05:05:59 PM
I agree with the Douglas Adams comparisons, because both the writer of this story and DNA have the ability to present a place, people, and actions that, when looked at strenuously and individually, make no sense.  However, if you put together all these people, places, and actions, they add up to something that makes sense.  They transcend the "silly barrier", where there is so much nonsense going on(in a good way) that your brain says "Okay, I'm not going to try to compare this to reality", and just goes with it.  Funnily enough, this was experienced by the MC in the Schroedinger's Cat Lady story a couple weeks ago.  Things got so bizarre, her brain gave up and accepted what it was seeing. 

The cow says "Mooooooooo"


CryptoMe

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Reply #48 on: February 18, 2011, 07:19:24 PM
I found it difficult to accept that the the galactic transporter authorities had no contingency plan other than wait 12 years.

Why so? Our current Climate Change contingency plan is wait 1000 or so years... ;)
My point being that it is very normal to not think about bad things that you don't want to happen, and then be taken by surprise when they do.

Anyway, back to the story. I enjoyed this story. It was fun fluff. But, like many people, I thought the ending was a major weak point. It ended too quickly (resolution was too pat) and in the wrong place (dinosaur still in a dangerous situation). Fix that, and you have a really great piece of fun!



Kaa

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Reply #49 on: February 22, 2011, 04:24:03 AM
Loved this one. A lot.

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

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