Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Chase: A Short Story

See a name that looks familiar?!

To extend my lazy-ness, here’s another post with something I’ve already written (woohoo!). A story I wrote in college received first runner-up in the http://writerstype.com/ Short Story Category for February. It’s also entered to win their annual contest, and I get to revise the story for it (Thank God).

It didn’t even start out as a story per say. It was a character exercise for class, and I kept revising it and using it for other classes (I really DO do that a lot I’m now realizing), and it’s always been my favorite of my college work.

Since I cleaned it up for the contest, I haven’t been back to revise it. With procrastination on my side, I probably won’t until later this year. So any comments/critiques are welcome.

The Chase

(work in progress)

by Lindsay B. Logan

     I sit at my vanity table every morning without fail. It’s easy to be vain when you look like I do. I half expect to step on shards of shattered glass when I step out of bed, for how could a simple mirror survive after witnessing such perfection? Nevertheless, it is always in pristine condition, perhaps only to have the chance to gaze upon me once again. I am always happy to please.

What should I look like today, mirror? What hue should my divine locks possess this day? I’ve been a lustrous crimson for a week now; perhaps a sultry cerulean would suit me. This time I choose flaxen hair down to my hips. I like my hips, and they like attention, so this hair suits us both. Now to decide what face to wear. The haughty law student? The roguish actress? I tilt my head, blinking. I select the wanton call-girl this time. I haven’t been her in ages and she wants room to breath. I paint her favorite pouty red lips extending to my ears and dust on rosy blush down to my chin. She tells me she wants plum eye-shadow up to the hairline, and I oblige. I finish with midnight black eyeliner across the width of my face and I study the mirror. “I’ve done it again,” I say to my reflection, and the call-girl smiles.

Crossing my cluttered bedroom, I throw open the closet doors. I imagine a gust of wind escapes, and doves descend from above. I can almost hear angels singing as I rifle through the hangers. I put on a red rhinestone blouse paired with a neon bubble skirt that desperately tries to caress my knee, but has to be content with the middle of my thigh.  She tells me she wants boots, big sexy boots, and I frown a little when I have to tell her I’m not blessed with such an item. I know how annoyed I get with her constant nagging, so I assure her that today we’ll find exactly what she wants. She quiets down enough so I can pick out some purple pumps with straps that snake up my legs. They remind me of what a mummy’s legs might look like if it was possessed with a life such as mine. Call-girl angrily reminds me of my promise. My hair performs pirouettes as I try to shut her up, but she is persistent. I let out an exasperated sigh as I stroll out the door.

I like the way it feels when I saunter down the street and not one eye notices the flashy hot dog stand or the vulgar street performer. I can feel the gazes like warm water dripping down my skin. My eyes close in pleasure when I hear the soft mumbles from the onlookers. It’s at these moments I wish I had microphones at every corner. Then I could listen to the sweet declarations from my loyal fans anytime and every time I wanted.

But I must be content with just the casual overheard statement. I tell myself that it’s better than nothing, though I know I deserve more. Today I overhear things like, “My God, look at her!” and “Wow, I’ve never seen anyone like that.” It’s like water in a vast desert, and I soak it all up. I feel as if each word seeps into me, giving me more and more sustenance. Call-girl likes it too, and tells me to flash my admirers a smile, and when I do, they gasp. I find myself wishing I could be them at times; they’re so lucky to be able to look upon me without the help of a mirror.

Call-girl tells me to forget about the boots, she’s found something better. He’s walking toward us in slow motion. His black suit is pressed to his body, his hair attached to his eyes. He walks toward us with a newspaper in one hand and coffee perched in another. I think he’s nothing but ordinary, but she won’t let me tear my eyes away. He can feel our syrupy stare, and he raises his eyes to see us. His newspaper floats to the sidewalk and the coffee almost nuzzles his Armani tie, but he recovers in time to save it. He likes us, she thinks. Of course he does, I tell her. I decided the direct approach is beneath us, so I let him pass by. I wait as long as she’ll let me, and I spin around in a whirl of blonde tresses, whipping out like a cat o’ nine tails. I easily spot him, his polished jacket and meticulous hair making him an easy target. His strides are sure and steady, and she tells me I should shake my butt more while I walk. She’s getting excited; the thrill of the chase is her favorite aphrodisiac. I tell her to be patient, and he glimmers into a building made of glass.

We walk to the back of it, and close by is a small park; this is where I stop the chase. What are you doing? She’s almost yelling now. If I was a violent person, I’d hit her. I sit on the most ornate bench I can find, and stare into the glass building. We can see him perfectly from here. I think God must be rewarding me. He’s leaning back in a cushioned chair and chatting excitedly on a phone. Who is he talking to, we wonder. We decide to hate whoever is on the other line. With every moment that passes, call-girl is getting more anxious. I tell her it’s almost time, but she’s not convinced. He’s getting up, and what’s that in his hand? He moves his finger and I can just make out the pack of Marlboro’s he’s holding. We smile.

He’s outside now, and he can see us. As is the norm, his eyes are frozen on us. We smile seductively at him, and he seems taken aback. I stand up, extending my mummified leg, and move away from him, my eyes beckoning. He follows, dropping his cigarette. Call-girl is squealing now, and I tell her to be quiet; I don’t want her to ruin it. We lead him into a bundle of trees and as all the others, he pursues. I stop and turn around, and he’s in front of me, a big, sweltering thing. He can’t take his eyes off what I’m sure he finds to be flawless features. I just sigh with almost boredom and move closer, and his eyes widen.

Later, I’m back at my vanity table, brushing my yellow hair into perfect sleekness. Call-girl is content at last, as happy as a cat after catching a mouse. She curls up and bothers me no longer. I glance one last time at my reflection, still not convinced I’m real, and crawl into bed, a smooth Armani tie wrapped loosely around my fingers.

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Mass Effect 3 Review

I was at a loss for where to start (maybe I’m over thinking this, but hey), so I thought i’d make it easy for myself and start with something i’d already written (a tactic I utilized in school, btw. You’d be surprised how many classes you can re-use a paper on Kangaroos for). Here is a post I made in the Bioware Social Forums about Mass Effect 3. It was in response to the imminent release of the Extended Cut DLC (which could be another post…)

Original: http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/355/index/12696103

 

This might be a bit late, and I should have written this when the game was still fresh in my mind, but even after all this time, I feel like this still needs to be said.

Let me be clear. This is not about the ending. I didn’t even have a huge problem with the ending. Compared to other things, it’s not even on my radar. And that’s sad, because the ending was bad. The fact that something can make it seem okay is terrible in itself.

A man of his word.

I feel that the over-encompassing narrative and character development was shot to the wayside. I almost feel like ME1 and ME3 were the same story, and ME2 sadly was another, because ME2 and ME3 had very little connection.

The big selling point of ME2 was that you had to build up a team and gain their loyalty. This was a literal action you had to do, or that character would die in the end. I thought this was great. In terms of story, character is almost always more interesting than plot. If you don’t care about the characters, then the plot, what happens to them, doesn’t really matter.

So you spend all this time in ME2 building these relationships, and in ME3, it means very little. Other than really Garrus, every character gets about one mission, and that’s it. They get a cameo, and then it’s over. Instead, you get the 3 characters from ME1, and a slew of new people that were hollow compared to what you built in the previous game.

All those Loyalty missions for nothing, and to think I could have skipped helping Miranda…

None of this makes sense in terms of character, and perhaps the most important is you, Shepard. This is someone that you, the player, has fleshed out to make your own, made choices for them, pretty much become them while playing. ME3 is filled with actions from Shepard that just make no sense at all.

Perhaps we need to get into examples to really understand. Let’s start with the ME1 two character options, Kaidan and Ashley. It doesn’t matter which, they are essentially the same character, in terms of they fill the same role. I played as a female, so I’ll talk about Kaidan, but it would be the same for Ashley. So, in ME1, I romanced Kaidan, as he was the only heterosexual choice for me. Then in ME2, when you first see him on Horizon, things go downhill. While playing this conversation (and I tried several possibilities), none of Shepard’s responses really fit. You’ve been in a coma for two years, and while it may seem like only a few months for you, you’re painfully aware it’s been way longer for Kaidan. You wouldn’t say, “hey, how’ve you been?” But that is essentially what you say. That aside, no matter what you dialogue options you choose, Kaidan leaves you.

One of the first of many lines that make me want to slap him in the face.

Shepard is a strong woman (or man), no matter how you play her. She isn’t going to pine after a man who dumped and rejected her. She’s going to believe she’s better off. Of course she’ll be sad, she is a human being. But she isn’t going to wait around, especially when her next mission might be suicide.

That leads to Thane, who I chose to romance next. I tried Garrus as well, but as I’ve read in many forums and agree with myself, he is more of a friend, an amazing friend. So going into ME3, Kaidan had dumped me, and Thane and I were in love. I believe it’s a 6 month gap between the two, during which some plot points happen. There is DLC, like the Shadow Broker story, but they are not in the forefront of my memory. I remember talking to Liara about whoever you romanced. So that love is still alive while going into ME3.

Here is what I am most angry about: Shepard turns into an emotionless husk. She doesn’t ask a soul about the man she is supposed to be in love with. He contacts her  in a random email. So you go see him, have one interaction, and that’s it. Not only that, but you have the option to keep asking Thane to have sex. Really? He’s sick and in a hospital. And while all this is going on, you visit Kaidan about 3 times in the hospital, and you ask after him before that. When did Shepard start liking Kaidan again? It doesn’t track. Where is the evidence?

GDI Shepard, you horny bastard. Leave the dying man alone for a sec, geeze.

Now moving on to Thane dying. Shepard does not shed one tear, nor does she touch him at all. Why is this? Because it’s the same cut scene whether you romanced him or not, or whether you’re female or male. This is a travesty in my opinion. Now, I didn’t expect her to throw a crying fit and jump on his death bed. But something. The Shepard who just sat there is not  the Shepard I played for 3 games. Later, you have a conversation with Garrus by the memorial on your ship, where Thane’s name is now written. Thane is not even mentioned, instead he mentions Kaidan, who is on the ship now. If memory serves, Thane isn’t mentioned ever again.

There’s a point later where Kaidan and Shepard can get back together. I wanted to see what would happen if I went along with it, and what happened was horrific. Kaidan states, doesn’t accuse, but states that he’s okay with you cheating on him. And Shepard goes along with him, agreeing with his assessment. This is disgusting. Kaidan is the one who left Shepard, and left her when her whole world has been turned upside down after losing 2 years of her life. To trivialize what she had with Thane as “cheating” is simply disgusting. And the strong-willed Shepard would never have gone along with this.

When are you going to get it through your head that I’m not into you Carth, I mean Kaidan…

This is when I realized that this game is really geared toward men, and that is really terrible. It’s the year 2012. What really makes this weird is that here is such a heavy emphasis on gay/lesbian equality in the game. There’s an openly gay character, that as a man you can romance, Kaidan can be romanced as a man, and there are 3 lesbian options. This is one of the pros of the game. But what happened to us hetero girls? Your choices are the man who broke your heart and betrayed you, or your best friend who, let’s be honest, is too alien to be intimate with a human.

Thank God I can have shower sex with this girl I just met, and if she doesn’t work out, there’s always that girl in the cargo hold, or the girl you blew off before but would totally do you if you asked.

My main point in this article is that I want the narrative to make sense. I don’t care what happens, as long as it makes sense. Thane can die, you can get together with Kaidan, it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s believable, and nothing in ME3 was. It almost feels like a rough draft of a story that needs to be thrown into a creative writing workshop.

Next week the EC comes out to “fix” the ending, (post note: it didn’t). I’m glad that Bioware is responding to fans, but unfortunately none of the things I was so disappointed in will be touched on. It’s just too bad that one of the most innovative game franchises of our time ended this way. I honestly have little hope for games in the future if this is the new definition of “innovation.”