Angelic Eye for the Gendered-Species Individual

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15:09: the letter meme appears to be floating around again
..and the lovely livredor gave me H, which was not the easiest once I got past the most obvious one, but I am happy with what I have now.

hugs: I really like hugs as a mode of expressing fondness. Really. I am fortunate in having so many friends with whom exchanging them is a mutually positive thing.

hummus: One of the nice things about Chase, a Lebanese restaurant which I regularly patronise, is that they do really fresh hummus which is the best I have ever tasted. Another is that when they ask you whether you want fries or rice you can say half-and-half and they do not blink. That way you can take each chip, dip it in hummus and then dip it in rice, resulting in an amazingly delicious combination that, unlike a goodly proportion of the excellent food in Montreal, I can safely suggest to friends who are vegetarian or keep kosher.

Hardware: Early 1990s SF/horror film by Richard Stanley. Picture The Terminator if it had been directed by Peter Greenaway. I have an utterly irrational love for this movie. (Warning; it gets dark and a bit bloody.)

Hallelujah: The Leonard Cohen song, somewhat overused in recent cinematic history but still bloody good.

Homestuck: It's all crotalus_atrox's fault. This gets a bit long.

Homestuck is a webcomic-like thing by Andrew Hussie (and later support team) that appears to be inventing a new medium from whole cloth. Formwise, it generally consists of a page of images, some descriptive text, a "next page" link in the format of a command from an old-school text adventure, and a collapsible chat log between the characters. Which latter is its first brilliant innovation, as the text content for any given panel is entirely unlimited by having to squeeze into a word balloon. At various points, it also contains animations up to fourteen-minute mini-epics, embedded adventure games in a number of styles, and rather a lot of music.

Contentwise, to summarise the summary of the summary, it's about four 13-year-old kids who know each other online, how they deal with a number of others they meet online who are initially hostile and for a large part win them over, and their joint play of a highly-anticipated videogame, with catastrophic consequences. They also swear a lot. Really a lot.

It is immensely long - over 5000 pages, and over 400,000 words of text, and not finished yet though seemingly in its closing movement. It is a slow starter; the first couple of hours or so are mostly following an endearingly dopey thirteen-year-old boy around the home in which he is, as the title would have it, stuck, and - particularly if you're not so easy a sell on data structure humour as I am, which I suspect most people aren't - rarely more than mildly amusing. It is very referential - to computer games of any number of eras, to a range of dumb movies of the 80s and 90s, to several significantly more cerebral notions, to Andrew Hussie's previous works, and increasingly to itself. It is extremely detailed, and almost everything turns out significant eventually. It is, in different places, very touching, very dark, and laugh-out-loud funny. It has some of the most ambitious and complicated time-travel I have ever seen, and definitely the most ambitious use of metafiction. It hits my plot-complexity button like nothing else, it builds up amazingly structured characterisation over time, and it has moments of sheer technical genius. (Such as providing its four initial central characters with a ready-made set of realistic in-jokes of the sort circles of friends have, while also keeping them transparent to the reader, by having one of said characters draw a webcomic of his own, a perfect rendition of a smart thirteen-year-old's "ironic" attempt at the Worst Webcomic Ever, to which the characters frequently allude, and making fifty or so pages of this available.)

The pacing of revelation is so masterful that I would urge anyone considering it to approach it without further spoilers if possible. The longer chatlogs, the odd interludes and playable bits, the occasional drastic change of character focus, can seem awkward on first encounter, but they are all building things worth having. About the only caveat I would add is that it makes occasional use of bright flashing lights.

It also has a millions-strong and vocal fandom all over the internet, many of whom are early teens. This does appear to lead fairly directly to pictures of characters kissing being much more prevalent than the sort of thoughtful analytical essays it would be nice to have about the material, but then again, Hussie is responsive enough to his fandom in something close to real time that writing a thoughtful analytical essay about Homestuck might well put one at peril of being incorporated into the thing.

It starts here.


[User Picture]
Date:February 8 2013 22:22 (UTC)
That way you can take each chip, dip it in hummus and then dip it in rice, resulting in an amazingly delicious combination

"Curry rice and chips" is the Geordie kid's carry-out panacea. Every Chinese takeaway offers it, despite there being nothing inherently Chinese about it: a container filled half with rice and half with chips (fries to the foreigner, natch), and a dollop of curry sauce over all. I have no idea whether the curry is vegetarian or not, but it has no admitted meat in it; that would add to the cost, and cheapness is half the point of this. Adolescent appetite is the other half.
[User Picture]
Date:February 9 2013 20:42 (UTC)
Homestuck - thanks for the recommendation, I am reading and enjoying.
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