Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Researching the unknown .. with Professor Mentia

Before reading the following paragraphs telling of the plotting of this caption, please look at the actual caption and try to figure out how I came up with what I did.


This is another one of those captions that came out after I "went through the motions" of making something the other day. I had gotten a caption from a Haven newbie, and I thought it was pretty good. I am not a big fan of steampunk and fantasy stories, but it was quite well done and I LOVE the aesthetic of steampunk fashion.

When looking at her preferences, she was well within the realm of what she had created for me, so I had to step up my game. I know of Dr. Who, though what I know is mostly in a Pop Culture sense. I've never watched more than 5 minutes of any show, and the one I think of when someone says "Dr. Who" is that dude with the afro from the late 70's. Tom Baker is his name I think.

Anyway, I had an idea to take what I thought he was, mix it with a movie I'll mention in the next paragraph, and sort of merge it with John Audobon. I've been reading up on his life, and the idea occurred to me that it'd make a great idea for a story ... research for a compendium of magical entities. My character would be that mixture of Dr. Who and John Audobon sort, in the manor of  Sherlock Holmes, who definitely needs a sidekick ala Watson. The best way to do that is have someone that is impartial and unbiased .. hence where Suzy comes in.

What fully got me into this plotline is the goggles. When I saw them, I thought about Ghostbusters and the P.K.E. meter device. The lenses are green, and the green meter represents paranormal substances. In my mind, I combined the P.K.E. meter and the Ectogoggles into one device (much more stylish goggles too!) which Suzy can use now that she's fully female.

That tied all my thoughts together. A traveller, reasearching the magical world, and where it intersects into our real world ... gadding about and having fun. Now that I look at it like that, perhaps there is a bit of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy in their as well. Anyway, I am not adverse to revisiting this avenue again if need be, and mostly if I can find pictures that work for it.

What shocked me though was the response. People that I respect on the Haven seemed to really enjoy it. Maybe it is due to the quality of the "source material" but it went over MUCH better than I expected.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: If I decide to continue it, any ideas on how to structure it as a series? I have a definite idea on how I would write more captions, but I am interested in seeing what others would suggest. Also, what magical entities (hopefully some will be somewhat obscure) would make good antagonists for Suzy to interact with?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hot Rod Mama ... and 400k hits!

This is one of those captions that I had mentioned previously as one I really liked. It was a special birthday present for Petra, who I remember back when she first joined the haven. He captions are great, and as a person, she is wonderful, funny, sweet, and kinky ... and that puts her right at the top of my list for qualities in a friend.

Being that I am fond of her, it was both a blessing and a curse in making her a birthday caption. I wanted to make sure it was worthy of the occasion, and truthfully, I didn't want it to suck. I found the picture a few weeks before knowing that it was definitely "Pea worthy" and I made the lay-out when I found that picture. That way, all I would have to do is stare at it for inspiration and add the words when the muse struck me.

Somehow a few friends at work got my mind running about Urban Legends, and specifically ones about cars. From there, I found it really easy to get a bit silly and over the top with them in this caption. When I can push things past silly and into ludicrous ... I have fun in that zone, and Pea doesn't mind hanging out there either. I didn't have space to fit in all the legends, but I gave enough to get it where I wanted. At some point I will revisited the guy with the hook for a hand and weave that into a TG caption. I know I have one in me. LOL

Sorry I hadn't posted earlier. My social calendar was more full than I wanted it to be. Daughter was invited to TWO sweet 16 birthday parties for her friends (oh the social hell she'll be cast into if she wears the same outfit to more than one party!) and one of my longest running friendships (over 30 + years) son turned 8 so we had to do the whole cake and presents thing today. It was an easy gifting moment .. plenty of LEGO, Phineas and Ferb, and battle hamsters! Its weird cuz I had my daughter early, and all my friends are now having kids. They weren't too interested in Bday parties when WE were throwing them, but God Forbid if I can't make it to theirs!

Anyway, I pretended that the ice cream cake I was eating was in celebration of the blog reaching 400k page views, which should happen sometime tomorrow or Tuesday. At the current rate, we should hit half a million hits around my birthday which would totally rock.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: What Urban Legends would make great ideas for TG captions? Have you seen any stories of captions based off them? Perhaps that would make a great idea for one of the Monthly Challenges on the Haven?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Mirror is Lying! ... 100 followers!

Sometimes you just have to battle through things, and this is one of those captions. I had the idea to detail more of a transformation in this one, since I was stressing the losses he had went through in a short period of time, which was going to pay off with the denial at the end. While it was a decent pay-off, I am NOT that fond of this caption.It comes off as a bt forced (sorry Trixie if you are reading this, then again, she hasn't commented yet on the Haven) but on the scale of "dreading the very evidence that I created this monstrosity" and "I get orgasms just THINKING about this caption" ... I rank this on the scale of "meh" and sometimes that is worse than hating it. At least then, I have some emotions about a piece I've made that I don't like. This one just sort of exists.

"SO then Dee," you may ask, "why the hell are you posting this caption?" to which I would reply, "Why the fuck not?" I am not ashamed of it, and when I can dial in more on her preferences, I might make an even better one.

The main reason I am posting this is ... Making this caption opened up the floodgates of some creative juices I needed to have milked (sorry if that visual was TMI bhahaha) and led to a few works that I'm really proud to call my own. I wrote a caption (which I'll probably post here soon) in a realm of preferences that I'm not really into, but I thought I did a great job creatively. I also made a birthday caption for Petra which will be posted on her special day (aka tomorrow). I should be discussing that one here as well, possibly on Friday.

For me, making captions usually comes easily. When it doesn't, I find that just doing the act of creating something often stimulates the thoughts and grease the skids. Sometimes I post them (like this one) and other times I'll save what I have and then redo it another day. I have made enough captions now that I am allowed clunkers from time to time (and I don't consider thsis a clunker, its more of a missed opportunity.) Even better, the repetitive nature of creating is so ingrained, that its easy to bounce back into the groove.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: Regardless of whatever creative endeavor you are doing, what things do you do to give yourself a "creative enema" and get yourself going again when you've stalled? Do you keep plugging away or wander off? Attack it from a slightly different perspective?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Queen of the Hive .. and Summertime!

I don't really want to DRONE on .. bwahahaha, but I like to make silly captions with lots of puns. When its cute, fun, and is still able to deliver on what people are looking for with their preferences, I feel like I've done my job. Of course, people like depravity and all that, sometimes you just want a chuckle and enjoy the image for what it is. I am not sure that you really could go over the top with that picture anyway, but it ties in well with what I was trying to do with the storyline. It was also the last (I think) of a few captions I owed Shauna Marie, so I got to run the gamut of emotions with my "production run". Did I miss many Bee related word-play? I am guessing that I got 95 percent, and other than listing songs by Stryper, I fit in what I think I could without forcing it.

The main reason I posted is that I wanted to see if Blogger was back to normal. It went bye-bye for a bit, which was only a few hours after I posted the last blog entry. Not sure how many people got to see it, as it seemed to appear and then disappear fairly regularly. Even when it was viewable, people weren't able to comment at all. I think we might be back to normal, though I don't see many others posting, unless that dashboard tool is still down as well? Feel free to post comments in the previous entry and anything else you'd like to talk about.

DISCUSSION: Its close to Summertime now, as evidenced by all the pollen those damn bees are moving around. When the weather gets nicer and life intrudes (at least here in the Northern Hemisphere,) do you plan to be creating/reading TG captions more or less during the next few months? I am trying to get a feel for how much I should update from June - August. Are you more available because school is off for the Summer, or busier because of fun activities you've got planned?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

But I Didn't Cheat! .. A Drive-by Caption

I made this caption as a "Drive-by" for Tar on the Haven. A "Drive-by" is when I am bored and looking to try to increase the comments in the Trading Area. I look for the last person to have made a comment on a caption (doesn't matter if its mine or for someone else) and then make a caption for them. It is usually a quickie, but just something to let them know that their comments are appreciated.

I loved the look on the girls face, since you'd think that being all fancy dress would get them to smile big time. The one in purple does not really look too happy which is why I really liked the image and wanted to use it in a TG caption.

The plot was based off of how schools now treat any sort of disagreement. If someone jumps another person and they get into a fight .. they both get suspended. It seems ass-backwards to me, and if I was in school now, I'd make sure to have a few burn-out friends around to take out my enemies for me. Anyway, on that note, I figured it was the same punishment for cheating (both the cheater and the one who let them copy both get zeroes, even if the smart person didn't know they were giving away the answers.) That way I could get someone changed into a girl even though he didn't deserve it. Sometimes its just fun to see what happens when fate throws a curve ball (or some feminine curves) at you.

The other reason I like it is that there is a foreshadowing effect. Did Damien cheat to get the male version of Tara disqualified from being the class valedictorian on purpose? Did he not have a date for the prom as a guy? Did he want to go to the prom as a girl? Are they struck like that for just that night, or the rest of the year? rest of their life?

I am not quite sure of the answers, but it certainly is fun to think about the questions and where they lead. I think its fun for the reader as well, since they could picture themselves as one of the other girls. Why and how did they get into that situation?

Hell, for that matter, do you think the geeks are happy they are showing up with a hot girl, regardless of whether they used to be a boy? Perhaps they (or past geeks) invented the technology to create the new women? Or perhaps a cursed placed on the school by some old principal that was also a witch?

Did the town and school department allow this to get all the people in the class motivated to study hard? Maybe it was a chance to earn a good education but the risks where definitely there.

SO MANY QUESTIONS!!! And I am glad that I didn't answer them.

DISCUSSION QUESTION:  Can you enjoy a caption on its basic level, or do you have to figure out for yourself a back story for what happened and what is about to happen afterward? How much information do you really need to enjoy a TG caption? How often do you view a caption and elaborate what happens next?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Our Wives Are Now Lesbians ?!?

Since I've mentioned that I have really enjoyed my recent output of captions quality wise, I figured that I would post something that I enjoyed but would probably have liked even more if I had held back and tightened it up some.

I love the plot, and I wouldn't change anything with it. The guys that are clueless to what is happening to themselves, but seeing how girly the other is ... something about that just really appeals to me, plus from the looks of it, they've been under control for quite a while now which gives a great back story to the whole thing.

From there, it moves along as a brisk pace, and you can follow along fairly nicely .. That Debra's wife was probably the one that came up with the plan to feminize the guys, since she's a bit further along. It also seems to imply that the wives did this so that (1) it would soften the blow to the two originally macho guys, and (2) keep the marriages thriving, and perhaps even saving them.

That there is a happy ending to the caption, although not officially stated, is also a good thing and lends a positivity that isn't always there in TG stories. The picture fits the storyline, with some excessive makeup and the posturing, which could be the culmination of the sissy programming the two guys have been through.

My problems lie with everything above the last two paragraphs. Those are well written and sum up the caption nicely. I'm not sure if I wrote that stuff first. Its entirely possible since I've done that before and worked backwards. Actually, I don't mind the second half of the paragraph before, which leads to the last two paragraphs.

The 1st half of the dialog in this caption just doesn't seem quite right, and I still can't quite put a finger on it. I definitely think it could be tightened up and have all the words spoken weigh more, story wise. Or maybe that the conversation seems more "stage directed" than something that would be said in a normal conversation. I mean, it isn't as bad as a radio commercial  ("Your basement is so clean Marge, how'd you do it?" "Acme Basement Management." "Acme Basement Management?" "Yes! Acme Basement Management. Those guys at Acme Basement Management really knew what they were doing." "Well, I guess its Acme Basement Management for me .. what's that number?" etc. ...)

The main reason I'm bringing this up is that even with all the parts lined up and ready to go for an well-done caption, sometimes the pieces don't add up to 100 percent. In my opinion, I had a wonderful premise, strong graphic, and a killer ending/stinger. Somehow, it still didn't work for me.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: How do you feel about the above caption? Do you agree with my synopsis, or do you think I'm being too hard on the caption? Or that I'm wrong in thinking the elements I had were as great as I think they are? Any ideas on how I should have attacked the first half of the text?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"How Dare You!" and a question

I must say that although I haven't had an prodigious amount of captions produced in the last month, there have been many that I think are some of the best I've done in a long time. Because of that, I want to space some of them out over the next few weeks here on the blog. This one above was something from awhile back, but its a topic I visit time and again because it does have a timeless appeal. What sets this one apart I think is the last line. The timid nature seems to get more defiant, and possibly sets the stage for a rivalry that the wife didn't expect at all.

Here is a question from Alectra:
Dementia your last post was quite interesting. Do you think you could make a section once per week or month about reviews of olds series, blogs, movies, anime, songs and the likes?
Are you looking for a basic discussion of what I like when it comes to pop culture (movies, music, etc ...) or more captions posted in here regarding how I used said pop culture to infuse my personality into the captions? In general, are you asking me to open the curtain up and let people peek inside Damien's personal life?

I wouldn't necessarily have a problem with it, but I would think that most people don't particularly give a toss whether I find a certain movie or album appealing. but I'll open it up to the readers here.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: Do you think I should do as Alectra asked in the formspring question? What form should it take if I do, and how often should I do it? OR do you just want me to keep doing what I am doing right now?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Well she'll ransack Pakistan and run a scam in Scandinavia...

Hmmm, 2 captions for Jennifer posted in a row?!? Wonder how that possibly could have happened.

Anyway, Jennifer had made me a caption based on Freakazoid, and since I am probably one of the elite Pop Culture TG captioners out there, I knew I had to step up my game a bit in the return caption.

Occasionally I will go back over the archives of pictures I've downloaded to see if there were some gems I never got around to using before (to make a caption for a newbie with some cool preferences.) I came across this one, and immediately I knew the whole plot. I mean, literally my brain said, "Do it, Rockapella!"

I just knew that Jennifer would love it, but was sort of shocked it was such a culturally important show. The fact that Alectra knew who it was felt great. I figured it'd be yet another caption I'd have to explain to Martha. I guess it was an easy game/cartoon to translate. Anyway, I am glad that this caption would keep me in the pantheon of Pop Culture junkies!

The comment that tickled me the most (other than Jennifer's which made me gush) was from Jillisa:
I don't know whether to groan or kiss you for this whole thing. Loved loved loved watching Carmen because I'm a big geography geek.
I will definitely take that response every time. The fact that its up to 7 comments in only a few days means that it connected with people on a few levels. The familiarity with the source material married to the obvious TG aspect of, "I get to be a sexy secret agent!" worked really well here.

DISCUSSION QUESTION:  What other kids shows made you wish you could be one of the characters, specifically the female ones? Many of them did do brain swap scenarios or plots of that nature, like a freaky Friday type of thing. There has to be a few people out there that wanted to be Jessica Rabbit or Hello Nurse! Perhaps Wonder Woman on Super Friends or She-Ra?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jennifer's iBod .. and a question answered!

Alectra asked:

How much bigger can grow an universe for a captions series?, do you think making over 5 to 10 stories is long enough? or you could make it neverending? Do you think making a neverending universe will get bored of it?

Well, that is a bunch of questions wrapped up in less than 140 characters. I think I'll blow through a few paragraphs and see how many I can tackle without just listing answers.

Universes have their own little quirks and foibles, and I think that how they are defined is what limits their ability to survive and expand. Something like the "Magic Taxi" which is a favorite of Martha can be limiting, since you need to have a taxi, and or a woman getting out of a car, then filling out the backstory wrapped around all the rules that were put forth. The Spells R' Us universe is much more open, since you mostly have an old dude in a bathrobe that sells items or helps people much in the manner of a trickster from various folklore and myths.

One of the quirks with those is it is pretty hard to expand them, since they were created with certain set rules and I'm not even sure you could get in touch with the people that created them. If you did expand them somehow, you'd be bound to have people that would complain that it shouldn't be part of the canon of the universe you are using.The advantage would be that most people have a decent understanding of the setup of your caption, and your caption wouldn't need much back story.

If you are talking more about a universe that was set up by you, then it would tend to be more flexible and likely for continuation however you want it to be, either by yourself, or inviting others in to play in your sandbox with the characters you've created. The broader the range of plot and people that populate the universe, the more likely you'll be able to keep generating new captions AND the likelihood that others will want to read what you've made and possibly make captions in that world too!

The ironic thing about the caption universe above (iBod) is that 3 different people independently had the same idea. There was a story on fictionmania, there was my take on the mp3 player (I am big time into music) and someone else on the Haven did one as well, without knowing of my previous work .. even weirder was that they made their iBod caption FOR ME! That speaks to the universality of the idea (a device that changes you) with a method that also transcends cultures and geographical boundaries (music) so I think the only limits on the number of captions made is how many pictures you can find of hot women wearing headphones and/or ear buds.

I think I've made about 12-15 captions involving the iBod technology. I can't remember the last time I used it so its been awhile. Was I bored with it? Not really, but it just hasn't hit me in the gut when reading people's preferences. Will I use it again? Well, considering that I can often be lazy and use pre-existing universes to spin TG yarns in caption form ... I would probably bet on it. In fact, I think I still have some "girls with ear buds" images on a hard drive somewhere.

What does all these things mean for others? I can't speak for the masses though I can offer up opinions for them anyway, I think each creator has a good feel beforehand how fertile their universe is by the ideas it inspires.That plus input from readers can rally help you get a feel for what can be done. Perhaps the universe has 3 incredible stories in it, and then it needs to shut down as a complete work. Maybe, you tell more, and then come back to it like an old friend. Or it could be such a useful story telling tool that people are using it 16 years later (SRU has slowed down, but still quite viable).

DISCUSSION QUESTION: For readers .. What are your favorite TG universes to see in caption format? For captioneers .. What universes have you created? Would you mind other people playing around in it? If you haven't made a caption in those universes in awhile, would you revisit it at some point?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

necktie = noose = no longer hung

Posted this one back in January 2010 I think, and it was inspired by a dinner I had at Smokey Bones. Some guy had uttered the wish out loud, which I could hear a few tables away. Sounds like a decent wish to make, especially since I hate neckties. I have a Henry Rollins type neck and I have trouble breathing with collars and ties. Plus the fact is I still don't know how to tie a tie .. on the odd occasion that I HAVE to wear one, I have a few zipper ties that work wonderfully.

Since I had the idea, I just had to find the picture to match. This is one of those times when I had a ton of pictures to choose from when searching. That way I got to choose a picture where the expression worked well with what I wanted to portray. This is what most people would call a "win/win" caption, well at least for those that enjoy reading TG captions .. but I would bet at least 40 percent of normal guys would take this trade off in a heartbeat.

Thanks for those that posted links in the previous posts. I checked out some of them, and added links to the left hand side. A few I'm watching under blogger.

No discussion question today. I know there is one on queue in formspring which I will probably get to in a few days, so talk amongst yourselves. You could also post more discussion questions if you wish.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Its a Slam Dunk!

The picture was in Kaitlyn's folder for a 2 for 1 offer, and it was too cute to ignore. I love when I can make dialog like this, especially when the people are working out what is happening, and the compulsions take over. You have 2 guys who obviously are athletes, and by the end of the story they are dreading even going to gym class. I'm probably showing my bias here by saying that I LOVE captions like these, either by means of hypnosis or magic. My favorite line is so predictable, but I think its awesome ."If I pass you the brisketball ..." which shows how much knowledge about sports they've lost, and how much ditziness they've gained. Even most sports challenged women can name what she is holding in her hand and possibly a player or two.

The thing I wanted to discuss here is something that a few people mentioned during my last pseudo-rant blog posting ... that I was some sort of goddess, and as such, that people are afraid to approach me. I really and truly hope that isn't true, and this blog is my way of hopefully reaching out to everyone that reads and writes captions. I truly love TG captions, and I love to talk about them. For me, THAT is the key to making better captions is to discuss them and think about them in ways I hadn't thought about before.

There were tons of nights where I've had discussions with Simone, Jennifer, Bren and many others ... talking about why they did what they did in certain captions. Through making some real clunkers, I was able to figure out what I was good at, what needed work, and even more so, a support system that could be honest with me when it sucked, and praised me when something passed muster.

I've made some great friends through TG captions as well. The community in general is understanding and varied enough that even though there may be disagreements, most people respect others opinions. Some people disappear, and luckily there are always new people to keep the community vibrant and growing.

This is my little piece of that TG community. Here I can elaborate more of what I like and discuss why I am not fond of things I'm not fond of. Its my spot of heaven and no one is going to shut me up if I want to wax poetic or bask in some adoration when I'm feeling down. Even better, I have a chance to share it with visitors, all who have a passion for TG captions.

For creators, I hope to keep the discussions interesting, in hopes that the captioneers will take a seed and make it grow into wondrous captions that will inspire me to take my game further. For readers, I want them to understand the process behind the creations, and hopefully grasp the challenges that we have in producing what they love to read. If at some point they try to make their own, then even better!

How can I keep the discussions lively and informative? I can pontificate all I want, but my opinions are not quite worthy of stone tablets descended from Mount Sinus (A-choo!) When I ask for comments, it usually isn't for ego-stroking, but to get ideas flowing. When I ask for links, it is because I am curious to see what others read and appreciate. When I ask for people to explain why they like a certain type of caption, ie pregnancy, its so that other creators can get a handle on it and make captions that people want to read.

Honestly, I have no idea where the hell all this came from, but to wrap things up ... don't be afraid of witches and gypsies like me! If you'll notice, we usually give you what you want, especially in captions. It reminds me of a caption idea I had but never followed through with. It has a guy surrounded by spooky girls, and he thinks to himself, "I've been insulting these goths all night ... when the hell is one of them going to turn me into a girl or dominate me? Just my luck, I ended up with a room full of defective witches!" Sometimes you just have to ask nicely!

DISCUSSION QUESTION: Are there any captions I've made in the Haven recently, or made for you however long ago, that you'd like me to discuss? If I can get some responses, I can sprinkle them in with other discussions, or perhaps they'll lead to a wonderful discussion on its own.