The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

The List Of Fours

Posted by BigWords on December 21, 2010

Nothing to do with the Book Of Fours (though a Buffy reference making a long-overdue appearance here would probably be welcomed) nor Rule Of Four (or Rule 34, for that matter), The List Of Fours is, in fact, a meme. Is it being altogether too clever to stick a link here to Hypnerotomachia Poliphili? Probably, though I guess only you can answer that… Don’t sigh, this won’t take long and I’ll try to make it as painless as I possibly can. And I know – memes are lame, but I don’t have any option other than to comply with the social obligation of doing this, seeing as how a very evil individual tagged me. Go comment on her blog about how this contravenes the very clear protestations I have made against such things, here and elsewhere… Whilst it isn’t necessarily stated that I have to expand on the reasons for inclusion of each item here, I will do so to place some sort of context to the madness – something which is probably required given how rapidly I can jump from subject to subject.

Anyways, this list was really hard to put together. Really hard. I wanted to make it better than my usual attempts at memes because it’s not an altogether bad one. It’s not brilliant, but it doesn’t make me want to gouge out my own eyes (something which can’t be said for some memes), nor does it force me to take refuge in the tropes I embody best… Seeing as how these things tend to get rather more personal here than others would go, there is cause for a mild content warning. Seriously though, if you have seen some of my other posts, the TMI level today is mild in comparison with what I have been known to post. As always, discretion goes out the window when I get to the keyboard…

1. Four shows that you watch:

  • Firefly. You could probably tell that this was going to be on the list no matter what – though there was a bit of indecision here. Is it better than Dollhouse? It’s different enough from everything else Joss has done to make it worth noting as an exemplar of television which goes outside the box, looks at the box, and finds the box lacking… It redefines SF on its’ own terms and shows (with admirable audacity) that even the hokiest ideas can be made riveting. Cowboys in space? That’s as old as the hills. Hell, Galaxy Rangers and Bravestarr were doing that shtick back in the 80s. But Firefly is special – and not special in the bad way
  • The Wire. More than The Shield or any variant of C.S.I., The Wire represents the largest evolution of serialized crime drama in fifty years – even such groundbreaking shows like Hill Street Blues (and later NYPD Blue) didn’t move the goalposts so far. Watching (and re-watching) The Wire is like taking a masterclass in pacing and character development, as strands are placed in position, moved, taken apart, and put back together again. I fucking LOVE this show.
  • Doctor Who. Something of a guilty pleasure (especially since Karen Gillan was added to the cast), but one of the strongest UK shows currently running. That statement, in and of itself, is a damning indictment against British television entertainment, as it has long been a show mocked for poor FX, cardboard sets, and pantomime acting. I was going to use Babylon 5 for my third choice, but the over-arcing plot culminating in The Doctor restarting the universe is much more audacious a stunt than anything JMS pulled. Not necessarily the best reasons for listing it, but repeating “Amy’s legs” a dozen times would be redundant…
  • Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex. As the number of really intelligent cartoons has increased, a few rise above even the best live-action shows – not many, but a few. GITS is one which refuses to simplify anything as it barrels along from a Catcher In The Rye influenced digital terrorism case, through some of the most moving scenes ever filmed (a little girl looking for her lost cat? Yeah. Sure. How traumatic can that episode be?), and onto heavy philosophical questions of what it means to be human. I can’t recommend this show enough, and urge everyone to at least give it a shot.

2. Four things you are passionate about:

  • Lists… If the concept of lists wasn’t readily available, I would have had to create the notion. There are few better ways to display information concisely and with the maximum of information. I have had a thing about lists for some time, and it has only increased.
  • Books. That’s something which should be blatantly obvious by now, though there are probably areas I should explain. I like all books, for different reasons. There are folks who dislike the novelizations of films (and when Issac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke have both written novelizations, there is no reason to dismiss the form), or look down on reference guides to television shows… Whatever prejudices are brought up, I have one comment – books are there to enrich your mind, so quit bellyaching and start looking at the wider picture. First person to dismiss self-pubbed books in the comments will be lectured. You have fair warning.
  • Art. From antique woodblock prints to fifties comics, and from the neo-realist to Dada, I love art. The more interesting it is, and the less it panders to the majority, the more I tend to get obsessed with it. I have attempted to bring people to the notion that art doesn’t have to be an elitist pastime. It isn’t entirely true that true art is incomprehensible, as there are plenty of great experimental images (The Great Bear comes to mind) which combines functional style with wild imagination.
  • Monkeys. Yes, you read that right. Because everything is better with monkeys. You can blame the Timesplitters computer games for this mild obsession…

3. Four phrases words you say a lot:

  • “Groovy.” Because Ash is awesome, and there can’t be enough Evil Dead love on this blog.
  • “Dude…” If I have to explain this, then you really haven’t been paying attention… Any questions, and I will post a bunch of sixties music videos in the comments section.
  • “Fuck.” One of the most useful words in the English language, serving as a noun, verb, comma, full stop… Pretty much the essential word for any Brit.
  • “Oops.” This post is a self-demonstrating example of the use of this word. It wasn’t meant to be a massive post, but things tend too happen and I get excited. Very excited. Then there are a bunch of words on the screen, it’s hours later, and people are wondering what the hell I think I am doing. So yeah.

4. Four things you’ve learned from the past:

  • “What does not kill you only makes you stronger” isn’t necessarily true. In fact, it’s pretty much the diametric opposite. Think about it for a second – if you break a leg, does it suddenly regenerate, allowing you to run faster and longer than ever? No. Whoever came up with that idiotic saying should have had every bone in their body broken to prove that they would not become capable of kicking Steve Austin’s ass afterwards.
  • Checking for blue spots on bread is always a good idea BEFORE you eat it. Having learned the hard way, there’s little chance of me making that mistake again…
  • Money doesn’t matter when there are other things at stake. It took me quite a while (probably longer than it really should have) to work out that money wasn’t the most important thing on Earth. I’m trying to shed the bullshit that society deems we earn as much as we can when we can, as it obscures things which are much more important. The days of me working for a whole week without rest on code are long gone, but the instinct to take every job I am offered is harder to break away from. It’s not a trait I particularly like, but I’m working on it.
  • Worst case scenarios are NEVER the worst case scenario. There is always an idiot who can, by skill or endurance, manage to make things even worse. These individuals should be avoided at all costs. Or tarred and feathered. Are we allowed to do that any more? Okay, so I’m not sure on that point, but you get the idea.

5. Four places you would like to go:

I was going to do the standard holiday locations for this, but it doesn’t feel right somehow. Honesty, remember? If I am to be honest, then the places I want to go should reflect me – stop shuddering at that thought – and the list is surprisingly short. There may be some debate as to how unique each location is in regards to each other, but I couldn’t list one and ignore the rest. The scary thing about his list? I actually have plans to visit each of these places…

  • AngoulêmeFestival International de la Bande Dessinee. One of the most important comic-book events in Europe, and one which has a remarkable attendance record from the legends of both European and US comics. Just to spend a couple of days in the presence of the masters would be worth going to France again. Damn. I didn’t mean to diss the French. Sorry. But, y’know – there’s a reason people mock their waiters. Just saying…
  • San Diego Comic Con. It’s not as if it is the easiest place to get to from the UK – especially with me currently trapped residing in Scotland. It’s one of the few places I would be allowed to talk about all the geeky stuff I love without people looking at me as if I am mildly mentally deficient. I could even get away with dressing up as Princess Leia. Wait. That ain’t right. I meant… Ah. Um. Moving swiftly on…
  • E3. All those computer games, just waiting to be drooled over. It’s paradise for someone who considers gaming to be an art form alongside television, film and music. I’m not completely sold on the current trend for 3D games, nor the motion-controlled variety – it seems gimmicky and prone to decreasing returns – but the number of traditional 3rd Person Adventure and FPS titles in development are worth the travel time to get to E3. YMMV on whether it is safe to let me loose in such an environment unchecked…
  • Anime Expo. Are you sensing the theme yet? C’mon, at least I didn’t say I wanted to go to FurryCon or anything. I like anime, and being surrounded by all the toys, DVDs and games would be beyond any level of excitement heretofore experienced. I may even need adult diapers if I were to attend…

6. Four things you did yesterday:

As it is now Tuesday (and this week can’t go fast enough), I’m using Monday’s activities as the material here, even though I started writing this on Sunday. Yes, this has gotten rather wordy, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to rush through the rest of the meme simply to keep you from getting swamp-ass while reading it. This is as therapeutically beneficial for me as it is meant to be entertaining for you, and if you’re getting annoyed at the length the post has managed to get then I suggest you make your complaints known to the individual responsible for such an outpouring of words. You can even find her on Twitter if you’ve already complained on her blog.

  • I nearly froze to death. There should be some kind of rule in place that states a workplace should be evacuated for the pub (or home) when the power goes off in winter. It’s bad enough that I was watching my body temperature slip below any safe or reasonable level, but adding in the morons who come into the shop with the barest understanding of computers… Yeah. That’s a recipe for disaster right there. If the power goes out again, you can expect to find me in the nearest bar, complaining loudly about Scottish winters.
  • I bought the first two seasons of Heroes on DVD. I know there are people who complain about the show being hokey, badly plotted and filled with moments that are not only dumb but are willfully stupid: “Why did Peter not fly away at the end of season one?” – *yawn* Any arguments fail to take into account that it has some of the funniest uses of superpowers since Marvel’s comedic masterpiece which was Civil War. I’m not sure if I’ll bother getting the rest of it, but those two seasons are enough to satisfy me at the moment.
  • I edited the start of The Ghost BureauAgain. I have the feeling that I’ll be reworking the story until It hits a million words through the various drafts. It figures that the most important of my WIPs would be the most complex story imaginable, requiring in-depth knowledge of the EU constitution… One of the most unimaginably boring documents ever committed to paper. The one thing which I have decided on, absolutely and without difficulty, is to set it back in the 90s instead of trying to force it into a modern perspective – it is all about the run-up to the millennium, and by trying to make it current it loses a lot of the impact.
  • I started my New Year’s resolutions list. I did mention up at the top of this increasingly long post that lists dominate the things I do, and the start of a new year is the perfect opportunity to indulge in creating lists for no other reason than their own existence. It may be the purest form of list-making in the world. Or something.

7. Four things you are looking forward to:

  • The moment when I finally get an agent. Of course, I would need to find one who is not easily frightened by the increasingly irrational tweets, the mess this blog has descended into, and who – if it is is at all possible – doesn’t mind me jumping genres. In the midst of all the strangeness (which is somehow appropriate for me) there may be a hint of the works which are bubbling under the surface – a romantic novel perhaps, or a hard-boiled detective thing… Hell, I’ve even considered re-writing an old play I wrote back in the mid-90s as a comedy film. The fact that it features a murder at an airport only adds to the comedic value. *thinks* I probably need to work on a sense of good taste, but if I land an agent I’ll get right on that…
  • A bigger and better purpose for Book Re:View. The fact that there isn’t much there at the moment shouldn’t make people think I’m ignoring it. I’m not. The problem of what to put there has been weighing on my mind, and the solution I came to wasn’t entirely one which I could do easily or quickly. I’ll be adding more lists (a lot more lists) and placing some other things in there as well. I’m intending to have a massive database there for those who need book facts, but first I need to gather and check the data. This could be considered the first salvo in my war of mockery against Wikipedia.
  • Reading all the books I see people writing. This year has sucked ass when it comes to reading. Every time I start a book, I get caught up in other things which need my immediate and unconditional attention. I’m going to make a concerted effort to catch up on all the books I really want to read, and go through some of my favorites again. I haven’t read a couple of the last Stephen King books because time has been so short, yet I would have normally gone through them in a day if things weren’t so chaotic. Oh, and for everyone writing – keep at it, I’ll really try to pick up everything.
  • Captain America. The film won’t suckThe film won’t suckThe film won’t suck… I just have to keep repeating that as much as possible until it gets released, and hope my houdou is working. Gods, I want it to kick major-league ass, but on the strength of the last Hulk piss-take, and a really ill-advised Man-Thing DVD, I am less optimistic by the day. BTW Marvel Comics… WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING? Did anyone bother to read the script? Did the title alone not give the game away? Man-Thing? *sigh*

8. Four things you love about winter:

A question which I’m trying not to answer with sarcasm, as tempting as that may be…

  • Snow. I like the patterns it makes when it lands on the bare trees. I don’t really care for walking through the damn stuff, but I like looking at it. The chiaroscuro makes the world look like a Frank Miller comic, which is just about the most awesome thing regarding winter. The snow also means I get to wear my big Silent Bob coat…
  • Watching old films on television. There always seemed to be weird films on through the night at Christmas when I was a kid, and the strange programming decisions doesn’t seem to have been diluted in the slightest. Having these oddities appear unexpectedly is one of the few things that makes up for the cold and the long night. Actually, nothing really makes up for the long nights – I miss daylight. I really miss daylight.
  • Warm Christmassy alcohol goodness. It wouldn’t be Christmas without the ever-present allure of hot toddies – there when we need an extra pick-me-up that no amount of mistletoe can deal with. And no, mistletoe doesn’t get on the list here, despite the few perks it gives, because I always end up with the creepy chick who tries to follow me around days later.
  • A WEEK OFF WORK. Hell and yes. By far the best thing about the season of goodwill is the fact that I get a whole week where I don’t have to answer stupid questions. There are so many reasons why I need the week off this year that I may actually break into song at the thought of a holiday. Not that me breaking into song could, in any reality, be a good thing…

9. Four bloggers who should share their list of fours:

Ah. The fun part, where I get to subject others to this awful meme. Y’know, after three thousand words of babbling, I should have some idea of who I want to torture continue this, but there are so many people who would make good use of the meme. And I really don’t care, having spent hours (literally) trying to answer everything properly. I have a great idea though – if you have made it this far, or leave a comment, then consider yourself tagged.

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8 Responses to “The List Of Fours”

  1. Jamie D. said

    You are one of the very few people I’d read a 3k word blog post from (was it really that long?). How very fascinating…and I got a plot idea too (creepy-chick-under-the-mistletoe).

    Of course I had to endure some disturbing mental images that Hannibal himself probably would have quaked at, but I survived. Do I get a T-Shirt or something?

    It probably says something about me (most likely that I should stop procrastinating and go write already)that I’m on the edge of my seat wondering what your resolutions list will look like…

  2. bigwords88 said

    Thank you. 🙂

    You do realize you just got yourself tagged, right? Oh, and don’t worry about the New Year list – it will be much, much shorter than this.

  3. bigwords88 said

    Go take a look at SP’s version. It’s much, much shorter, and (quite possibly) the standard implementation of the meme. This post is at the opposite end of a sane contribution to the meme…

  4. Beth said

    You had me at “Hypnerotomachia Poliphili”…probably because I just finished reading The Rule of Four
    I suppose I consider myself tagged now…
    San Diego Comic Con is on my ‘to go to’ list as well.

  5. bigwords88 said

    ROFLOL. I was actually wondering how many people would be staring at that reference with a blank look on their face. 😀 And yup, you’re tagged. 🙂

  6. […] List of Four) By Beth So, I failed to read the small print and have gotten myself into the epic List of Four meme . So I shall gladly part […]

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