Jacob Haller (jwgh) wrote,
Jacob Haller
jwgh

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The project is complete!

As previously mentioned, I set a goal that in each of the twelve days following Christmas I would write something of a reasonable length to post to alt.religion.kibology. The thing is done!

Writing these was interesting. I set the goal the way I did because I thought one post a day for twelve days would be doable, but clearly it's not something I could do indefinately (in fact I'm pretty sure I couldn't keep it up for an entire month). On the whole I think they're reasonably successful, though I personally feel that the ones I wrote while I was visiting family in New Hampshire are probably weaker than the others (those would be the commentary track one and the folk tradition one).

For the last few days I had an idea for a post in reserve, which while I don't think it would have made a great ARK post I think it was helpful psychologically to have it available, because it meant that I knew I wouldn't have to come up with something at the last minute.

I did cheat a little on the 'no followups' rule; the 'Rudolph Downloads Christmas' thing was inspired by a flamewar about wasted bandwidth that was crossposted into ARK, and the 'Iphegenia at Old Country Buffet' one started as a response to a post by jvandenberg and then grew and grew and finally I decided to move it into its own thread. But I think that they can stand alone without reference to the threads or posts that inspired them.

One of my subsidiary goals was to make each post be different: I had a wacky story, a few anecdotes, an Interrobang Cartel song, fake essays, a TV show parody, a series of predictions for the next year, a parody of DVD commentary tracks, weird marketing material, a short play, and a crossword puzzle. It's probably not as diverse a set of stuff as it might be, but the attempt made the whole project more readable, I think. (I purposefully left out genres that I felt I've overused in the past, such as Scientifiction Playhouse and sensitive poetry.) The crossword puzzle in particular was the result of me trying to think of something that might be neat that I hadn't done before.

Oh, yeah, the crossword puzzle. This took me a few days to figure out how to best approach. After trying a bunch of different software packages, I eventually settled on Crossword Express, an amazingly powerful package available for Mac and PC. The user interface took some getting used to, but before long I was off and running! The main problem I ran into was one of dictionaries; either you put one together yourself that's too small, or you use one put together by someone else that contains all these words that you don't want to use, and you have to go through and try to get rid of all the ones you don't want. This is the path I took, and I discovered that if you did too much of it at a stretch real words like 'Iowa' and 'cafe' start looking foreign to you. However, I think the end result works OK and is hopefully even solvable, and I even got to fool around with some ASCII art! (swt indicated that for one of the clues I didn't convert between bits and pennies correctly, but I am too brain-fried at the moment to try to figure out if he's right or not.)

I also hoped that other people might take it upon themselves to do some nice long non-followup posts. This didn't happen too much, as far as I could tell, with the exception of Zixia, who's been posting some nice long funny stuff and who has indicated that it's all my fault. Hurrah!

Well, at this point I'm just rambling, so I guess I should wind this up. If anyone has any comments regarding the project, or wants to pick a favorite or least favorite post, or whatever, I am interested to hear your feedback. And if not, is also good.

Tags: writing
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