Things That Grind My Gears, vol 4,301,209

Yeah, it’s that time. Things have cheesed me off so much that my only recourse is to blog about it. And I’m gonna.


1.    The Misuse of the Word “Epic”


It’s en vogue to call anything cool or interesting “epic.” To wit, a sandwich I once made was called “epic.” It wasn’t epic because it was worthy of an extended narrative verse wherein a hero overcame vast odds to save a world, or anything like that. It was epic because it contained corned beef, roast beef, pastrami, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Now, I can vouch for the deliciousness of the sandwich, because I ate it. However, it certainly was not epic. It was a sandwich. Bards will not sing of it in times to come, and a cult of hero worship will not form around the sandwich.

Of course, this criminal misuse is not limited to gastronomy. A good friend of mine, whose opinion in most matters I respect, once called dancing the conga “epic.” I told him that he was wrong. That the conga has never been, and never will be, referred to as “epic,” and the fact that he did so betrayed his ignorance of the actual meaning of the word.

Surprisingly, we’re still friends.

So, pals, chiefs, the invasion of Normandy was epic. The Star Wars saga is an epic. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is an epic. My sandwich is not epic. That chain backstab you got in Team Fortress 2 while wearing the Ghastly Gibus is definitely not epic.

Not epic.

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One of those days today. Weather outside’s like England, if England were much warmer due to hellish humidity. Can’t get any momentum on the book, and just kind of blurgh today. So, I ran a search for “I NEED SOME GOD DAMNED WRITING PROMPTS.”

When nothing came up, I decided to just make up a list of writing prompts for people who, much like me, turn to Google in their desperation and type-scream for prompts.

  1. Bob Dylan just walked into your office. He walks to your desk, pulls a chair out of thin air, and straddles it. He glares at you. You can tell he hates you, but for what reason, you have no idea. He proceeds to insult everything you hold dear, everything you think you’ve accomplished, and everything that you hope to ever accomplish. All in one breath, one uninterrupted stream of hate. Your prompt: Write down exactly what Bob Dylan said and then write down your response.
  2. Think of a band you despise. Everything they create grates on your ears and drives you ever closer to madness. Whenever you hear one of their “songs,” you are reminded of all of your regrets and wish for nothing more than to dive to the closest bottle. SURPRISE! They’re your new roommates! Write a TV pilot for a whacky sit-com where you and the band live in New York, Chicago, or Atlanta.
  3. You suddenly turn into anti-matter. The only thing keeping you from obliterating everything you touch–and, by proxy, the universe–is a weak magnetic field. How do you react? Pay special attention to the fact that you will no longer be able to eat or drink, as imbibing or ingesting would require you to bring matter into your special magnetic field.
  4. Oh no! You’re caught in a black hole! The good news is that, for some reason (let’s go with magnetic fields), the phenomenon’s gravity isn’t ripping you apart, atom-by-atom. However, the bad news is that time in a black hole moves so slow as to essentially not progress. Now that you’re eternal, what are your plans?
  5. You read a blog post about how the blogger wants nothing more than people to just relax and understand that, at the base of every struggle and competing worldview, everyone just wants to be happy and to not hurt others  too much in order to be happy. Being a good, red-blooded American, this makes you sick. Who is this disgusting, anti-American hippy to claim that you don’t want to hurt people? You want to hurt people! That’s why you have three shotguns! In the proud tradition of the Founding Fathers, you decide to write a letter to your local media outlet. What’s in this letter? Make sure not to use any basis in fact–facts are for liberal snobs.
  6. Create a religion. Make sure to write the entire religion’s Bible, complete with creation myth and litigious chapters detailing what sorts of clothes your followers are allowed to wear. Bonus points for creative and gruesome end-of-the-world scenarios that are vague enough to be interpreted for any point in the future.
  7. Choose an ethnic group you know nothing about. Say, I don’t know, the Kurds. Write a hate-filled diatribe against them. Then actually do some research and say why everything you just wrote is full of crap.
  8. Everyone has what I call “Vault Jokes.” Vault Jokes are bits of humor so abhorrent and disgusting that you would never say them in public. Even moreso, you wouldn’t tell them to anyone you hadn’t known for less than five years. They typically involve race, religion, class, or all three at once. What’s your Vault Joke? Amplify it by a power of ten, write it down. (NOTE: It is fully acceptable to drink yourself into oblivion after completing this exercise.
  9. Someone on the Internet has just insulting something you kind of like. Write down how much they suck.
  10. Uwe Boll is the executive producer of a film directed by Michael Bay, with help from M. Night Shyamalan. It’s based on the premise that Atlantis is actually the home of a demonic army led by Loki and Hades. They have tapped YOU to write the screenplay. What’s more, they’ve set up a meeting with FOX studios for tomorrow morning at 9 AM. Write the treatment to get that sweet, sweet Hollywood money.
  11. While there’s very, very, very, very, very little evidence for anything resembling an objective morality, and because of the observed nature of the universe, we can pretty much guarantee that every bit of matter in the universe–including humans–was created through long processes involving combinations of particles leading up to creation of elements and, eventually, matter including planets and life as we know it, there is no real imperative to be good, most people still decide not to go around killing each other. Sometimes that’s because of religion, but even religious people can be dicks. Same with people who buy into that whole scientific evidence stuff. Yet–YET–there are plenty of good people out there, and humanity is progressing towards an accepting, tolerant worldview. (Even though pockets of resistance refuse to acknowledge the inherent equality of every human.) There’s no prompt in there, I just felt like sharing that.
  12. Burning out, or fading away. Discuss. Use examples when necessary, emotion otherwise.
  13. Your dog has suddenly started talking. What shenanigans do you get up to?
  14. The Galactic Empire suddenly finds a wormhole that leads to Federation Space. Vader vs. Picard. Emperor Palpatine vs. … er… Worf. Who will win? Write a novel about it.
  15. I woke up this morning and had a feeling of imminent, crushing doom. What’s up with that?