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Drabblecast 161 - Higher than Usual

Posted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:28 pm
by StalinSays
Higher than Usual
by Derek Paterson

Read by Dan Chambers
Art by Bo Kaier

This week’s show was sponsored by Happy Birthday Robot!
Pre-order the game!

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:32 am
by strawman
Happy Birthday Robot sounds like a great idea for the families of gamers. I didn't realize gamers had time for families. I thought between games and Drabblecast, they were just like SouthPark WoW.

The story seemed like it had been done several times in the DC Drabble section. But that may just be because I was so focused on the incredible energy and enthusiasm of Dan Chambers. He has a kind of John Cleese quality.

Fun Episode.

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:06 am
by ROU Killing Time
Fun episode and the reading really did make the story. Beneath the humor I did notice a theme that seems to be resonating in the real world. People breaking into factions and getting downright testy with each other, seeing their particular group as unerringly right and "the others" as the bad guys.

Sort of like Apple heads and Windows users. Yeah, that's what I'm getting at.

Here's hoping that nuclear war doesn't break out between Cupertino and Redmond.

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:26 pm
by DougallStrange
This story was awesome. I loved the fact that the narrator seemed lucid and sympathetic throughout. It was a slow burn as he moved away from his calm pathetic stance in regards to the accountants, to his more leveled treatment of that suffocating woman, and finally the enlightenment of combat. I was rooting against those damned sysops from the very beginning. DEATH TO THE NORTHSIDE!!

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:05 pm
by Talia
Great story, excellent reading. The rage virus made me think of '28 Days Later,' but if it were written by, say, Monty Python. :)

Also made me think of this (NSFW.. eventually)
http://strangebeautiful.net/muse/durham ... sreply.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go put down an insurrection in the front office.

Nervy bastards.

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:16 pm
by Phenopath
Ha ha, that was excellent - echoes of JG Ballard anyone?

As usual I listened to this episode in the car on the way to work, but the slow burn lunacy of the story and Dan's characterful reading (followed by a blast of Senor Coconut) put me in a rather odd mood. When I finally walked into the office I was somewhat weirded out and a bit scared; especially by the freaks clustered around the coffee machine.

I am glad that the tribal violence overcame the insular apathy of the protagonist. This was an optomistic story I thnk.

The Happy Birthday Robot story was good too.

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:18 pm
by strawman
Oh, my bad. I forgot to say that after I got past how good Dan Chambers' reading was, I noticed the background music. That was so good that it began to distract me.

One whole listen was devoted to imagining Norm conducting the soundtrack while Chambers provided the "lyrics": Rogers and Hammerstein, The Gerschwin brothers, Bernstein and deBergerac.

I don't know which material entertained me the most... Patterson's story or my imaginary one.
Delightful!

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 1:27 pm
by Goldenrat
Wow, this story was great! Maybe my favorite of the year so far. Loved the narration and how the tone of the story escalated in to chaos. It made me think of the opening scene in The Meaning of Life. I can't tell you how many times at work I have wanted to strangle someone in another department with my mouse cord. I think I'll sand the end of my ruler in to a point and ready myself for the impending attack! Yeah!

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 2:05 pm
by DanielSolis
Hey all, I'm the guy behind Happy Birthday, Robot! I just wanted to thank Norm and the whole Drabblecast crew for their support in fundraising and spreading the word about the game.

Also, I wanted to remind everyone that I've got two remaining slots for a free game to go out to a library, school or after school program of your choice. You can see more info here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dan ... osts/11071" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

You don't have to pre-order a game to sign them up, so it's free for you too. The idea is that games go out to libraries who want them, and the costs are defrayed by pre-orders from regular folks.

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 3:14 pm
by ROU Killing Time
Welcome to the forum, Daniel. Great idea on your game. Best wishes for success in your endeavor.

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 10:10 pm
by Richmazzer
Phenopath wrote:Ha ha, that was excellent - echoes of JG Ballard anyone?

.
YES! I totally thought High Rise meets Monty Python. High five Phenopath. Come to think of it, Ballard has some great short stories that would be awesome to hear on Drabblecast. Too bad they won't be in public domain for quite some time and I'm sure his estate would want a pretty penny for audio rights. Worth checking into though.

Dan Chambers knocked this out of the park. Having said that, I think the author gave him a lot to work with here. The big laugh I got from the fantastic line: "Well, she could clean up the mess too!" started with it being a fantastic line. Chambers picked up on that and read it perfectly. Norm picked up on it and placed a perfectly timed swelling stinger to set up the line.

I loved the music that kicked in during the siege of the sysops. Gave it a hilarious Sean of the Dead feel.


"Hey Junior, Daddy's festering army of bog imps just smote your puny level 3 white mage!"
"Daddy...I don't like these values"

"Junior, have you had a chance to read over that revised manuscript I emailed over this morning?"
"I'm sorry Dad, I'm ass to ankles in social studies homework right now, I've got a test on the state capitals Monday."

"Hey, that Drabble only had 98 words in it!"
"Bite me!"
"...That'll do'er! Good to go!"

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 10:12 pm
by Richmazzer
Oh, and awesome art! Bo always does a great job of catching the best image from a story and reflecting it in the episode art. Loved last week's too.

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 3:12 am
by ChicagoMike
Great story! My favorite part was how the protagonist was so ambivalent to all the craziness going on in the first part of the story. Maybe it's a critique of the way we live our lives so focused on just getting through the day that we don't stop to consider the turmoil of the wider world. Or maybe it's just some strange humor.

I'd also like to echo strawman's comment on the music, which really set the tone for the story.

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 8:15 pm
by Domition
The old lady with the cricket bat. Wow. I loved this one, having never worked in an office I assume this sort of thing is fairly common. If I wasn't being crushed between plumbing and HVAC gear fifteen feet off the ground with toxic PVC glue burning the many cuts in my hands while being called a retarded monkey by my journeyman I would go nuts and kill people too. What a kick ass reader, Norm is awesome of course but this one really did benefit from a different voice. Great stuff keep it coming

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Tue May 04, 2010 1:34 am
by tbaker2500
I enjoyed this one. Heavy Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz influence here. Ending was a bit weak, but the smoothness of the transition from happy to angry was beautiful.

What does the title mean? Was he higher than usual when he wrote this?

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Tue May 04, 2010 8:34 pm
by Phenopath
tbaker2500 wrote:I enjoyed this one. Heavy Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz influence here.
I thought so too, and checked out curiosity; Shaun of the Dead came out in 2004, whereas this was first published in 2001.
tbaker2500 wrote: What does the title mean? Was he higher than usual when he wrote this?
I have no idea.

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Wed May 05, 2010 5:02 am
by tbaker2500
Phenopath wrote:
tbaker2500 wrote:I enjoyed this one. Heavy Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz influence here.
I thought so too, and checked out curiosity; Shaun of the Dead came out in 2004, whereas this was first published in 2001.
Well that's cool. I guess the next question is, is the author british? Certainly brit influenced. (Which is a complement BTW.)

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Wed May 05, 2010 5:21 am
by normsherman
Mentioned in author bio, Derek's Scottish.

There's a line in the story--
"I switched to another channel where another expert was talking about the higher than usual number of UFO sightings reported world wide..."

Maybe aliens? Maybe fluoride? We can't really tell-- but I think the title refers to higher than usual tempers and violence.

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Wed May 05, 2010 10:19 pm
by salimfadhley
I really enjoyed Dan's reading, particularly the way he transforms the narrator from the office dullard to a raving psychopath. I really enjoyed the story...

...but if you allow me to be hyper-critical, I felt that it had a few moments which seemed a bit redundant or flabby.

For example, the bit where the narrator does not quite see what the maniac is observes that it might have had blonde hair. Is it possible to observe that a carried object has blonde hair without suspecting that it is probably a head? The conclusion is inescapable for the reader, it ought to be for the narrator as well.

What about the bit where the narrator is approached by two unidentified crazies who seem to recognize that he is not afflicted by their mania. I couldn't work out what the point of that bit was, since the tendency of crazies to ignore normals is somewhat immaterial to the main theme of the story, which is that crazies attack other crazies.

And how about the description of the beaten teenager's costume? Does it really matter what brand of trainers he was wearing?

I also found the relationship with the girlfriend an oddity - it was clearly deteriorating due to the narrator's increasingly paranoid state, however the relationship never seemed to be that strong in the first place. The narrator's emotions towards his girlfriend seem to go from apathy to... apathy.

:-)

Enough pedantry for one day!

Re: Drabblecast 161- Higher than Usual

Posted: Thu May 06, 2010 12:42 am
by ROU Killing Time
normsherman wrote:Maybe fluoride? We can't really tell-- but I think the title refers to higher than usual tempers and violence.
Do you know when they started fluoridation, Norm.

1947.

How does that coincide with your post war communist conspiracy?

Watch those precious bodily fluids.

Drink rain water, or distilled water only.