Thursday, December 25, 2008

in His Own Words

Harold Pinter: In his own words

— “I can sum up none of my plays . . . but my writing life has been, quite simply, one of relish, challenge and excitement”

— “Good writing excites me, and makes life worth living”

— “It was difficult being a conscientious objector in the 1940s, but I felt I had to stick to my guns”

— “The crimes of the US throughout the world have been systematic, constant, clinical, remorseless and fully documented but nobody talks about them”
Related Links

* British theatre will never be the same

* 'A loyal friend and generous human being'


* Harold Pinter

— “I tend to think that cricket is the greatest thing that God ever created on Earth – certainly greater than sex, although sex isn’t too bad either”

— “One way of looking at speech is to say it is a constant stratagem to cover nakedness”

— “I know little of women. But I’ve heard dread tales” Moonlight, 1993

— “Nothing is more sterile or lamentable than the man content to live within himself” Tea Party, 1964

— “I hate brandy . . . it stinks of modern literature.” Betrayal, 1978

— “I would never use obscene language in the office. Certainly not. I kept my obscene language for the home, where it belongs” Moonlight, 1993

— “I made a terrible mistake when I was young, I think, from which I’ve never really recovered. I wrote the word ‘pause’ into my first play” Interview, 1989

— “I don’t give a damn what other people think. It’s entirely their own business. I’m not writing for other people” Interview, 1971

— “I sometimes wish desperately that I could write like someone else, be someone else. No one particularly. Just if I could put the pen down on paper and suddenly come out in a totally different way” 1971

— “I’ve never been able to write a happy play. [But] I’ve been able to enjoy a happy life” Interview, 2007

Sources:; Times Database


From The Times
December 26, 2008
Nobel-winning playwright Harold Pinter dies
Harold Pinter

(The Times)

Harold Pinter was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2005
Image :1 of 2
Patrick Foster, Media Correspondent

Obituary | Dominic Maxwell | Peter Stodhart | Oliver Kamm | More tributes | In his own words

"Harold Pinter, universally acclaimed as one of the greatest British playwrights of his generation, has died.

The Nobel Prize winner lost his battle with cancer on Christmas Eve, his agent confirmed. He was 78.

Pinter, who also enjoyed success as a screenwriter for film and television, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, being hailed by the awarding committee as "the foremost representative of British drama in the second half of the 20th century".

Thursday, December 18, 2008


This one was posted in Kungfu Monkey. Much like it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Waid Wednesday #2: 101-A (a.k.a. "More Than Words")
Novelist walks into my office. Relatively famous, not as famous as Aforementioned Screenwriter, but a multiple award-winner in his genre nonetheless. And he’s immediately on my bad side because the comics script he has handed me is the dullest thing I have ever read, and I used to be a legal secretary.

It isn’t a bad story. To the contrary, the conflict is clear and intriguing and the plot moves along at a good clip. But the Ambien on the page comes from the fact that the writer’s a novelist. He’s accustomed to introducing his characters by writing hundreds of riveting words describing how they view the world, what their hopes and dreams are, and what’s going on inside their heads from moment to moment. But there is no room for that on the comic book page, so he just left it out, and now I’m holding a script starring a bunch of plot puppets who are indistinguishable from one another, who don’t reveal themselves through action, and who are interesting only in the writer's head.

Comics is a visual medium. That means the writer has to find a way to externalize the conflicts--literally or, with practice, symbolically--and not leave them locked inside the protagonist. I’m not saying punches have to be thrown--not every comic is or need be about Spider-Man--but if comics is the avenue through which you want to tell your story, it had better be a story that is, in its telling, visually interesting. If it isn't, you have chosen the wrong medium. I have been in awe of E.M. Forster's talent since I was fourteen, but I can imagine nothing more tedious than a graphic novelization of A Room With a View.

It sounds absurdly obvious, but I am so continually confronted with writers so in love with their dialogue that I'm going to say it again: comics is a visual medium. Bring every important character on stage by having him or her doing something--spinning a basketball, operating an electron microscope, taking a fistful of vitamins, anything--that instantly tells us something about them. When there's conflict, find a way to make it visual. Witty dialogue and clever repartee are priceless, yes, but probably more than in any other medium outside of, oh, mime, comics depends on the writer showing rather than telling. So give your artist interesting things to draw. Can this dramatic revelation happen in, say, a planetarium rather than in a hotel room? Can this confrontation happen on a Ferris wheel instead of a generic alleyway? Can these characters be acting rather than reacting?

One last time: comics is a visual medium. Use that. I am a huge, huge believer in page one of any comics story of any genre having an unusual image that will grab the reader and draw him in. It doesn’t have to be “super-heroey”--in the right story, a shot of a woman looming over an empty crib has just as much impact as, I don’t know, Superman punching a meteor--but by now, any comic book that opens up with four pages of guys in business suits standing around a generic boardroom is just death. D-E-A-T-H. Every issue, we have twenty-two pages, give or take, to tell readers a story that they paid good money for, so as a writer, I get very nervous opening with (or, once I’ve opened, spending more than about two pages on) something you can see on TV every day for free, without my help. Always think visually. Always, always look at your scenes once they’re drafted and ask yourself if they have more visual impact than two guys in business suits standing around a boardroom. If not, rewrite.
Next: Economy Of Storytelling
Posted by Mark Waid at 9:34 PM

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

RESEARCH: Parasites brainwash grasshoppers into death dive

This article from New Scientist goes hand in hand with the research I have been checking out for my Stargate Stargate Atlantis cross over comic book script. Science Fiction is a hoot, but this real shit scares me more than anything that I can come up with out of my sick imagination.

Parasites brainwash grasshoppers into death dive

* 12:02 31 August 2005 by Shaoni Bhattacharya

"A parasitic worm that makes the grasshopper it invades jump into water and commit suicide does so by chemically influencing its brain, a study of the insects' proteins reveal.

The parasitic Nematomorph hairworm (Spinochordodes tellinii) develops inside land-dwelling grasshoppers and crickets until the time comes for the worm to transform into an aquatic adult. Somehow mature hairworms brainwash their hosts into behaving in way they never usually would - causing them to seek out and plunge into water.

Once in the water the mature hairworms - which are three to four times longer that their hosts when extended - emerge and swim away to find a mate, leaving their host dead or dying in the water. David Biron, one of the study team at IRD in Montpellier, France, notes that other parasites can also manipulate their hosts' behaviour: "'Enslaver' fungi make their insect hosts die perched in a position that favours the dispersal of spores by the wind, for example."

But the "mechanisms underlying this intriguing parasitic strategy remain poorly understood, generally", he says."

The article continues here:

Robotics research

The study of motion can be divided into kinematics and dynamics. Direct kinematics refers to the calculation of end effector position, orientation, velocity and acceleration when the corresponding joint values are known. Inverse kinematics refers to the opposite case in which required joint values are calculated for given end effector values, as done in path planning. Some special aspects of kinematics include handling of redundancy (different possibilities of performing the same movement), collision avoidance and singularity avoidance. Once all relevant positions, velocities and accelerations have been calculated using kinematics, methods from the field of dynamics are used to study the effect of forces upon these movements. Direct dynamics refers to the calculation of accelerations in the robot once the applied forces are known. Direct dynamics is used in computer simulations of the robot. Inverse dynamics refers to the calculation of the actuator forces necessary to create a prescribed end effector acceleration. This information can be used to improve the control algorithms of a robot.

In each area mentioned above, researchers strive to develop new concepts and strategies, improve existing ones and improve the interaction between these areas. To do this, criteria for "optimal" performance and ways to optimize design, structure and control of robots must be developed and implemented.