All the Tropes That Are My Life

Sometimes art imitates life. Sometimes life imitates art. So, for your dubious biographical pleasure, here is my life in tropes. Warning: the TV Tropes site is addictive; beware of chasing links lest it eat the rest of your day. Or several days.

First, a trope disclaimer: I am not the Eric Raymond from Jem. As any fule kno, I am not a power-hungry Corrupt Corporate Executive; if I were going to be evil, it would definitely be as a power-hungry Mad Scientist. Learn the difference; know the difference!

I am, or I like to think of myself as, a Smart Guy who Minored in Badass. I show some tendency towards Boisterous Bruiser, having slightly too physical a presence to fit Badass Bookworm perfectly. And yes, I’m a Playful Hacker who is Proud To Be A Geek.

I like swords, but I’m actually a Musketeer who cheerfully uses firearms. (I have also been known to wield the dreaded Epic Flail).

It is certainly the case that I married the required Fiery Redhead. I own a Badass Longcoat but don’t wear it often, as it’s heavy and not very comfortable.

Some people think I’m a Glory Seeker, but in fact I don’t much like being famous; one of the few things I genuinely fear is Becoming the Mask.

31 thoughts on “All the Tropes That Are My Life

  1. Tropes are a genre of memes. They gain access to our minds through multi-sensory media and, after gaining a foothold via entertaining exposure, become rooted as a mental habit via repetition. It’s then a chicken-and-egg scenario. Did we choose the tropes or just become the tropes that we were exposed to during our formative years?

  2. I now wish to see a picture of you in said Badass Longcoat. Also, do you realize what you did by making so many links to tvtropes?! You sir have just stolen the day of several people.

  3. Considering all the collective hours undoubtedly lost to the Jargon File, your chasing TV Tropes for a few days seems like karmic retribution.

    N.B. There’s a minor typo (“as a a power-hungry”), and the Glory Seeker link is currently broken.

  4. Eric, I’ve said it before, but you are — to a very good first approximation — Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation with coding skillz. Replete with ‘stache.

    And yes, TV Tropes is actually a weapons-grade timewaster; it’s become customary on Reddit to post warnings whenever someone links to it.

  5. >Warning: the TV Tropes site is addictive; beware of chasing links lest it eat the rest of your day. Or several days.

    I certainly agree with you there. However, I also agree with Robert Munroe: http://www.cracked.com is even worse!

  6. TV Tropes is where I learned the incisive term Idiot Ball to describe the lazy writer’s technique of creating drama by having one or more of the Good Guys do something so stupid that you question how anyone could really be that stupid and still be alive, much less in the position of responsibility the character presumably has.

  7. Possibly a cultural thing, but I didn’t get it at all… Read up on Wikipedia about TV tropes and still don’t get it…

  8. TV?
    Wassat?

    It was a kind of hardware on which you could watch “WKRP in Cincinnati”, but when it when off the air, the (now ex) wife watched game shows, so I would go downstairs and code and… uh… I guess that is all that I know about it.

  9. Indeed, TV is but the tip of the TV Tropes iceberg. They spend a lot of space on other media. That examples for pretty much every trope can be found in pretty much every medium and genre indicates their universality.

  10. Possibly a cultural thing, but I didn’t get it at all… Read up on Wikipedia about TV tropes and still don’t get it…

    “Tropes” are roughly to fictional writing what “design patterns” are to software. TVTropes is a site where individual users can identify the abstract patterns or tropes they’ve encountered, originally in TV shows but expanding to film, comic books, literature, video games, etc. and comment about them including supplying relevant examples. Over time this has sort of turned it into a sort of fandom compendium. Note that the best-loved TV shows (for example in America, Star Trek, Firefly or Buffy the Vampire Slayer) tend to be the most trope-heavy and often end up contributing disproportionately to giving the listed tropes their humorous names. (See “Tropes Are Not Bad”.)

    In fact, in the past to programming communities I’ve cited TVTropes as an example of how programmers should be thinking about design patterns, as things to be recognized, commented on, tweaked (hacked!) to fit the situation, and maybe even laughed at, rather than as prescriptive formulas. I think that the po-faced approach the Gang of Four book takes has induced a view — particularly within middle management, that patterns constitute canonical best-practice formulas which must be followed when you encounter situation X. If I had a dime for every time I was asked “When would you use the Singleton pattern?”…

  11. The Basass Longcoat is indeed a problem. For me, living in a climate where it is never reasonable is just the start – not only is ankle-length leather really uncomfortable, but my mom gave it to me.

    And we don’t even do Halloween on Castro anymore, so there’s really nowhere it makes sense except at clubs I’m way too old for.

  12. Applied Phlebotinum:
    “Phlebotinum is the versatile substance that may be rubbed on almost anything to cause an effect needed by a plot”

    Threads! They’re talking about threads, aren’t they?

  13. @Jeff Read, thanks for the explanation. At first I thought it was something to do with forming recognizable sentences out of the names of TV show.

  14. It is kind of sad at this point that I knew exactly what the image was going to be for Fiery Redhead.

  15. The Basass Longcoat is indeed a problem. … not only is ankle-length leather…

    From Dirk Gently (aka Svlad Cjelli) we learn that, if the coat is black, it is useful for suggesting that there are vampires in your family.

  16. I must be a danger, I guess. If you would prefer that nurses don’t draw blood, you would be better served to not have nurses.

  17. Since I can’t find a “create account” option there, and you can’t edit/discuss there anonymously, I’m gonna nitpick here.

    From “Epic Flail”, we see: The latter part of the Crusaders era was dominated by a number of armor-piercing weapons, including spiked or blunt flails.

    Blunt flails are for crushing, not piercing. Don’t need to penetrate plate if you can break the guy’s arm through it…

    I don’t think the spiked ones were meant to meaningfully penetrate armor, either, though I haven’t done in-depth research there.

  18. >I don’t think the spiked ones were meant to meaningfully penetrate armor, either, though I haven’t done in-depth research there.

    The spiked ones were intended to opportunistically penetrate armor joints while still delivering crushing force against plate sections. Still, as written, the sentence merits a nitpick.

  19. I must be a danger, I guess. If you would prefer that nurses don’t draw blood, you would be better served to not have nurses.

    I don’t mind nurses drawing blood. I would suggest that there might be a problem with nurses that…
    really like drawing blood
    – are never seen between sunrise and sunset
    – are on shift when pints of blood go missing

    Actually, I would like to recommend an author that I recently discovered – Christopher Moore. He is sort of a non-science-fiction version of Douglas Adams – not quite in Douglas Adams’ class but a similar transcendental goofiness (“Sacre Blu” and “Fool” are sort of different – try one of the others first).

    In any case, Moore has a trilogy about vampires that is wonderful (although I have only found the first two so far):
    – Bloodsucking Fiends
    – You Suck
    – Bite Me

  20. >Actually, I would like to recommend an author that I recently discovered – Christopher Moore.

    Hilarious – nearly as funny and intelligent as Terry Pratchett. Do not miss Island of the Sequined Love Nun

  21. esr said: The spiked ones were intended to opportunistically penetrate armor joints while still delivering crushing force against plate sections. Still, as written, the sentence merits a nitpick.

    Makes sense.

    And what is the internet (and Wiki-like projects) for, if not nitpickery?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>