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Re: Gutter Guys & Gals : Full Moon Baking

Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:09 pm
by corona
SweetKay, I'm getting back to baking terms. I hope I didn't turn anyone off with my discussion of hydraulics. :oops: I normally don't get explicit, but I can also get obsessive when trying to figure something out. It's why I can get long-winded in these posts. I love puzzles. I didn't know how else to put it.

And...there is a weakness to that hydraulics argument, and I HATE to bring it up, but I have to. The whole fluid pressure argument rests on the assumption that there is a biological pump that is creating the pressure. For humans, that would be the heart. For vampires, who knows, they don't have a true circulatory system to speak of, although the arteries and veins are still there. Which makes male vampires even more of a mystery. That leaves the only source that remains, which are venomous fluids that must have some very special qualities to it. Something is going on, otherwise a vampire wouldn't have a very slight flush after drinking blood, that requires some kind of mechanism that pushes the blood throughout the body.

So, I guess the sparkly eclairs and doughnuts of the TW world are sprinkled with magical vampire dust after all. I know something magical is happening, I'm just trying to figure out exactly where.

Getting back to Bree...

IMO, I have come to believe that SM actually did work out that concept of vampire physiology early on. Sex was brought up in the second chapter she actually wrote, the night of the meadow scene. By the time she wrapped around and got to her incubus and succubus research I think it likely that concept was developed. Likely. It's also possible she just decided to wave her hand at the whole thing and not worry about it. That is difficult for me to accept, but then I couldn't imagine developing a story like this and not getting into the details, even if I never planned on publishing them. But then I'm not Stephenie. The romance was obviously more important than the world-building. Aaargh, it's just that she did seem to have so much worked out, but never liked going into certain details. :rant:

Smitten, my answer to your questions about "sound" is to say that if there were a lot of strange noises from impacts, SM likely wouldn't want to give us everything on that, it makes the vamps appear even more alien to us. Your suggestion that there appears to be some cushioning from impact (Alice dropping on Jasper) that dampens the noise is actually very good. It is perfectly logical. SM does give us some of that, but not as extensively as you would think should be there. The only answer I have to that was this was an aesthetic choice of SM.

[EDIT: A good example of SM's aesthetic choices is the complete disappearance of Bella's burning thirst after the Charlie scene. It's there and ever-present, SM just didn't want to bring it up again.]

You see the same aesthetic choice cropping up in BD. We finally have a first-person perspective, but Bella never gets explicit, even where she absolutely should. Whether her experience is one of true stone hardness or one of flexing and giving when in contact with other vampires, she SHOULD have said something more directly. On its own, BD isn't conclusive one way or the other, since no single isolated observation by Bella can be taken as conclusive.

BD is written very cleverly where the nature of vampire flesh is concerned. At no point does SM ever directly indicate that there is any "give" in the flesh. The only evidence there is her frequent references to the texture of the skin as feeling soft due to its smoothness. There is that and our own imagination (mine included) that is far more comfortable with the idea of contact as being at least somewhat human-like. On the other side, any suggestion that there isn't any give, "hard as stone", lips that "held their own", is set into a context that permits those phrases to be interpreted as something other than being literal.

I admit, the reader is allowed to infer certain things, like your "sound" evidence and Bella "squeezing" Edward. You would normally use the term "grasp" when referring to solid objects; I would "grasp" a pencil when picking it up, I wouldn't "squeeze" it. Another good example is one I already quoted, Edward "crushing" his lips to Bella, a commonly used phrase with a common understanding of a fierce kiss between humans with human lips.

Which leaves the Bree comments a mystery. This is the last story officially published, one that was begun during the EC editing process back in 2005. Why would SM leave the whole question on that note? I tend to think that SM wanted us to have that information about "no give", that it wasn't a mistake. This is a vampire who has been in that body for three months, who is intimately aware of what she is, who even had her arm ripped off at one point and had to reattach it. Bree should know whether or not there is any give in the skin when in contact with vampires, it isn't something she should be ignorant about. If Bree was exaggerating to some extent or had actually meant "no give, unless pressing real hard", then that is a terrible way to introduce that since the comment is never revised or extended and can't ever be, now that the series is complete. BD doesn't conflict with it, and nothing else in the Bree Tanner book does either. Bree, in fact, seems to be a clever way for SM to expound upon what Bella means when she says "hard as stone". Perhaps SM meant exactly what Bella said and decided to quantify it with her final publication of Bree. So, Bree makes the "no give" comment explicity about two vampires kissing.

That might not be proof, but that would otherwise mean SM and her editors got pretty sloppy there at the end on a fundamental building block of her TW world, something that should have been worked out long before BD or Bree was ever written. It's like they forgot they were in Forks and ended the series up in Portland.

I can't imagine that kind of marble physical experience. But, why in the world would SM never confirm for us that there actually is give in vampire to vampire contact, why no first-hand observation, why no example of it ever happening, and why use phrases that, taken literally, directly contradict it? IMO, it's because she knew we couldn't relate to it. She was stuck with what she had already worked out. So, she is coy and clever in BD, and with Bree Tanner coming two years after BD and technically not a romance, she decided to go ahead and cough up that last bit of info.

Chernaudi, marielle, I totally agree with your thoughts on the "armor" aspect of vampire skin. There is something that allows for flexibility, otherwise the vampires wouldn't even be able to move. That doesn't quite jive with what I just wrote, I know. My former theory was very similar to yours. I'm thinking now along the lines of the venom not just providing the lubrication for movement but allowing for movement at all in the first place. That would be for another post, though.

P.S. Oops, I missed something. Perhaps there actually were elements of world-building that SM didn't really care about. That would mean SM was being coy and clever in BD due to avoidance, not due to aesthetics. The best evidence for that would be with the imprinting, and there is the appearance of avoidance as well, "it could be genes, it could be preserving the wolf line, or making the pack stronger, or something else." There are other problems with imprinting never addressed, SM simply wanted it to be, she wanted to create romantic relationships. Bree's comments, then, could be a simple aberration. That's still hard for me to fathom, but I always thought the imprinting stuff was a mess, so I can't rule out it didn't get messy with the vampires either.

Re: Gutter Guys & Gals : Full Moon Baking

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:25 am
by smitten_by_twilight
corona - My delicate feminine sensibilities have not been offended. I trust I have not offended your delicate male sensibilities either! I have not yet replied because work got cray-zee. But I have been lurking and mentally prepping a large post, working toward a Comprehensive Theory of Vampire Physiology. :write: (I love this smilie.) BTW, have you read the Lex's Conversations with Stephanie? Available from the blog page and very informative. Apparently Steph has asserted that she did think through all this stuff, she just refused to disclose (probably in the mistaken belief that we would then not think about vampire sex). So when she is being vague, it is probably an authorial choice. Graphic sexuality was not her thing. Anyway, I'll be back as soon as I can.

Re: Gutter Guys & Gals : Full Moon Baking

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:16 am
by corona
Smitten, yes I've read the conversations and interviews. I don't remember anything specific where she said she had everything worked out concerning vampire physiology. I had assumed she must have. Could you or anyone else point me in the right direction?

This is a far more interesting subject if we are reverse-progamming everything to try to discover exactly what SM's original concept was. If we assume SM actually had worked out a concept that was fairly cohesive for both male and female vamps, then it is worthwhile. If she hadn't, if she had just waved her hand and deemed the whole thing possible without giving it any real thought, then I would consider it more as a waste of time.

I am currently thinking of the venom. Venom is what makes effortless movement for the vamps possible, otherwise they would be trapped in stone bodies. For males, venom must somehow facilitate arousal in a way that bypasses the need for a heart pump. A high concentration of it pooling in one area (arousal) may effect physical qualities of vampire flesh. If so, the same could go for the women.

Venom on the inside would explain vampire mobility. Lack of it on the outside would explain the granite hardness to others. Those same properties of venom could explain sex, stone gaining some degree of elasticity due to a high concentration of venom. Just thinking. This means humans need to keep their vamp partners interested. If Tanya starts reaching for the remote, that means a cave-in is imminent.

P.S. My delicate male sensibilities? I don't know if I've ever been insulted in such a charming way. :hello:

Re: Gutter Guys & Gals : Full Moon Baking

Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:43 am
by smitten_by_twilight
So, if we are returning to baking terms, can we refer to Edward's rolling pin? Bada bing! I crack myself up sometimes.

marielle - All my earlier comparisons about what Bella hears were purely from book canon, not Eclipse the movie. Perish the thought! Movie canon is not really canon. Actually, in the books, most of what Bella seems to hear is a result of speed, like with Riley's arm zipping through the air and impacting the moving Victoria.

corona - PC6 indicates that Steph at least thought the sex through thoroughly, but I guess doesn't imply any more. I always thought that all her detailed and pretty consistent answers were a good indicator of that though. I'm so delighted to impress you with my charming insult. You know I adore you! Let's see what my twisty brain produced!

A Comprehensive Theory of Vampire Physiology

Vampires are magical creatures that mostly operate according to logical rules that appear scientific. At least one vampiric substance, venom, has properties that are unique in our known world: highly flammable, beautifully scented, functions as a lubricant for vampiric flesh, and when generated by the salivary glands, capable of turning humans into vampires. It is unclear whether or not the other materials composing vampiric bodies are real-world materials or not, but they seem to at least have some similar properties.

All vampires are created by transformation from a human state. The process of transformation changes them in highly limited ways. If they were in poor health, venom provides "healing" properties on the way to the vampiric state; this might include the healing of recent injuries, such as when Emmett was attacked by the bear, but it's unclear if it applies to older injuries and where the dividing line is. There are cosmetic changes, including the disappearance of most or all melanin in the skin, and something odd (magic) happens to eye color. Substantial changes to physique do not seem to occur. There are references to increased appearance of muscle tone, but body shape does not otherwise appear to change. Further, we have evidence from Steph when referring to a vampire's circulatory system, that the interior shape changes little or not at all. Human flesh and bone are changed into different materials but not changed in shape, despite the movie portrayal of deceased vampires as solid rocklike substances. Were we of a mind and ability to rip off a vampiric limb and look at the end, we would see hollow veins, bones, and possibly the grain of the muscles and tendons.

I propose that the different materials of the human body are transformed into different vampiric materials, possibly more difficult to differentiate from each other, but still different. Bone is a different substance from muscle, muscles are a different substance from nerve, et cetera.

I have previously (NEW Science of Twilight thread) theorized that the transformation process is characterized by tremendous pressure that is primarily experienced by the person undergoing transformation as heat. I don't think that human nerves are capable of experiencing this unique pressure sensation in which each cell is pressured on every surface and internally as well, so instead we have this sensation of intense, maddening heat. Venom is carried in the bloodstream, through arteries, veins, and capillaries, to every part of the body. Because this is the avenue of transformation, the heart is (magically, not logically) the last part to transform fully. Blood does not transform; instead it is used as fuel, held throughout the body by the circulatory system. (How? See later.) The solids in the body are pressurized into very dense substances. Running with the theory, the carbons are transformed into diamonds, the metals (calcium, zinc, copper, magnesium, etc - but not the iron in the blood) are somehow solidified, other elements transformed as well into stone-like substances that are dense and hard. But the human body is not completely solid, so the vampiric body at a microscopic level looks a bit like a lattice. Filling the spaces of this lattice, venom, which had been the water of the human body, exists between the cells, while the cells themselves are filled with a kind of venomous slurry. Water, which has many unique physical properties, such as expansion when frozen, makes an excellant candidate for transformation into venom, with its magical properties. As venom it lubricates the vampire body, allowing cells to move against each other easily, and likely allowing them to flex to some degree against each other, to allow for bending in varying dimensions. (I'll return to this.) Its (unknown) specific gravity balances the new weight of the transformed flesh, to result in a total vampiric body that weighs noticeably more than its human body, but not as much as an actual stone statue.

The solids of the human body, made up of many different elements in different molecular configurations, end up in the vampiric body very much like granite; a seemingly homogenous substance that is in fact composed of many different substances, diamond, other stone and crystal, metals, maybe other things. This accounts for the "sparkly" quality of vampire flesh and the sound of ripping flesh, metallic but also like breaking stone. It also accounts for the speed and perhaps intensity with which vampires receive information, think, and act. In humans, information is carried electrically along the fatty myelin sheathe that coats nerves, and carried kind of slowly. If this were transformed to a material that included metal (and there are metallic elements in lipids), the metal would carry electrical information much more quickly, allowing for more rapid perception (seeing individual trees easily while running through them rapidly), decision-making, and acting (dodging trees at speed). This stone-and-metal granite-like alloy, permeated by liquids in the form of venom and blood, is very dense and appears very hard to humans.

But substances that are hard and dense are not necessarily rigid. At a cellular level, vampires are a thin bag of alloy, surrounded by venom, and filled with a slurrylike mixture of venom and alloy. Part of this alloy is metal. Metal has an interesting property of being hard, but also flexing. So these little cells, surrounded and filled with venom, slide against each other and flex without breaking as a vampire, for example, blinks an eyelid. If they did break - overexertion maybe - they would heal rapidly with all that venom inside. The skin functions to protect the body, thank you marielle and Chernaudi for the armor/mithril comparison, just like human skin. Polished granite is a good comparison for vampiric skin. It is impermenable, and applied substances (like makeup) will bead and slip off. It is less penetrable even than vampiric flesh, although it can be magically penetrated, but very thin and at least as flexible as vampiric flesh. Vampires that touch each other could, with effort, flex each other somewhat beyond the depth of the skin, allowing for better kissing, among other things.

This belongs on the Gutter thread because this impacts our understanding of vampire sex. The skin in the genital area began different and remains different, but only minimally in substance. It is different in shape, sensitivity, looseness/elasticity, and texture, etc. The empty spaces of the rolling pin that, in a human, fill with blood, are still there in the vampire and fill with venom. (They must fill with venom, not blood. We have no indication in canon that lack of blood impacts sexual performance.) The microscopic cells slide and flex against each other as more material fills less space, resulting in a similar erect shape and sensations of tightness/pressure, but slightly less rigidity than the rest of the body, because of a greater proportion of fluid underneath the skin. Between the flexiblity of the alloy, and the looser or more elastic skin, male vampire-woman sex becomes possible - not easy or something to engage in recklessly, but possible. The risk is more from the vampire forgetting to be gentle with the human, rather than from, er, angular problems. Similar but less dramatic things happen on the female side. This should result in female vampire-man sex that is potentially more gratifying for the man than human sex, with only moderate (!) risk from cave-ins.

But how does the venom get there and stay there to create the magical rolling pin? For that matter, how does the venom stay suspended throughout the body without being pulled downward by gravity, and how does blood circulate throughout the vampiric body without a heart?

No one will like my answer. It smacks of convenience and deus ex machina. But these are vampires, mythical creatures who serve as excellent literary metaphor. How does blood circulate in a "traditional" vampire, and how is venom produced? Magic.

Here's the logic I'm thinking of behind the magic. We know that, like starfish, every part of a vampire's body has some primitive level of consciousness. This is how and why severed limbs wiggle, presumably distressed at their separation from the remainder of their body. They have a primitive desire to be reunited. I think that, on a cellular level, a vampire's body yearns for blood and the venom that it mostly transforms into, and this cellular yearning for blood - the whole reason that vampires drink blood at all - is the way that blood and venom circulate, suspend, move in the body. The vampire drinks the blood, which begins to transform as soon as it hits the venom in the mouth. Propelled by suction, gravity, and cellular desire, it travels to the stomach, continually assaulted by venomous vampiric digestive fluids, and thence to the intestines, where it passes into the old human circulatory system and rapidly circulates throughout the body, pulled into the cells by the force of their desire. It eases desire, provides fuel, and replenishes venom when needed. Blood that reaches the salivary glands is transformed into salivary venom.

The mechanisms behind human arousal are poorly understood, but seem to be a complex combination of biochemical triggers that increase smooth muscle relaxation, allowing more blood to flow in than flows out, until that changes. Desire creates the opportunity to relieve desire. Theoretically, in vampires, similar but different biochemical processes are at work. Sexual desire increases the relaxation of some muscles, providing a way for venom to fill the space, and cellular desire (for venom or sex or both, take your pick) pulls the venom towards the spaces. Desire at both the accustomed and cellular levels create arousal. Potentially, lust becomes easily confused with bloodlust, because of the involvement of desire at the cellular level.

I think that's everything. Please let me know what huge thing I overlooked, or what big holes exist in the theory. Really, it's all just for entertainment.

Re: Gutter Guys & Gals : Full Moon Baking

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:51 pm
by corona
smitten_by_twilight wrote:Please let me know what huge thing I overlooked, or what big holes exist in the theory.
I thought we were getting back to baking terms?
smitten_by_twilight wrote:Desire at both the accustomed and cellular levels create arousal.
Agreed. I think you got it right. At the "accustomed" level, you are where I was at thinking about prior vs. post functions where the radical changes in the nature of the flesh can actually prevent certain things. Arousal and other distributions of fluids are problematic due to lack of a mechanical pump. The venom and flesh substitutes that with its own "magic". The "cellular desire" as part of the magic seems a little bizarre, and yet as you point out severed limbs still retain some kind of primitive instincts to reconnect. That is a very good point, I hadn't thought of that. Also, there isn't anything in canon that suggests the vampire bleeds out venom when damaged, so the venom is showing some very unique properties there. A severed limb appears to retain its venom and the host does as well, or else Riley would have been gushing venom out when Edward tore his arm off.

Arousal is a little different, but whether it is primarily the venom itself that makes it possible or the cellular desire of the flesh, we are really quibbling about minor points.

Smitten, I have to hand it to you, this is an extremely well thought out post.
smitten_by_twilight wrote:This should result in female vampire-man sex that is potentially more gratifying for the man than human sex, with only moderate (!) risk from cave-ins.
Potentially more gratifying for some, although the idea of that never appealed to me. I'm sure some men wouldn't care, but most would have to be pretty blitzo not to notice the overall granite hardness, regardless if sex was technically possible. I mean, really, c'mon. That is a narrative issue, though, so I won't argue about that. I get a little nit-picky when I'm told (MS) that the men were "always eager".

[I would say more about, but I caught the tail-end of a segment last night where a doctor was talking about "disentangling" a man who was attached to an outdoor camp grill through one of the vent holes. If a guy could do that, I don't think he would have a problem with Tanya, but, jeez, dude? Here I was trying to defend us, and you pull something like that?]

Re: Gutter Guys & Gals : Full Moon Baking

Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:19 pm
by Addicted
Hello everyone.... :D
It has been a long time since I have been on The Lex, & in this thread.
Miss KStew & her indiscretions have brought me back.
I am loving the conversation going on at the moment.... ;)
I am one of those people who would LOVE to have every single detail explained, but at the same time I try not to think too hard about it as I know we will never know absolutely everything.
I have read Stephenie's interviews, & just love any bit of info that she is willing to give.

Re: Gutter Guys & Gals : Full Moon Baking

Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:26 pm
by Openhome
Brilliant discussion--still laughing at Edward's Roller Pin!

You know I had to do it... presenting Edward's Stone Rolling Pin

Re: Gutter Guys & Gals : Full Moon Baking

Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:26 am
by smitten_by_twilight
Openhome - BWAHAHA! Only the pic is oriented the wrong way. Or possibly it should be angled in the interests of accuracy. corona has had a lot of concerns about that angle.

Addicted - It's been a rough day for everyone in the fandom. Welcome back to one of the sane corners. Or for all I know, the only sane corner. I'm on this thread myself to unwind a bit.
corona wrote:
smitten_by_twilight wrote:Please let me know what huge thing I overlooked, or what big holes exist in the theory.
I thought we were getting back to baking terms?
BWAHAHA! I was so tired that didn't even occur to me. Overlooking huge things is VERBOTEN on this thread!
corona wrote:Smitten, I have to hand it to you, this is an extremely well thought out post.
Just ... wow. WOW. Corona thought my post was well-thought out! I'm tempted to make this part of my signature, but I'm afraid it would be too huge a contrast to most of my posts. Anyway, I'm hugely flattered that my humble efforts are meeting with such acknowledgement. It's been slowly cooking in my brain for nearly 2 years.

BTW, stone rolling pins are particularly well suited to pastry. Note my location. :twisted:

Re: Gutter Guys & Gals : Full Moon Baking

Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:00 am
by Addicted
Openhome - Thank you, that picture just made my day.... Best Rolling Pin I've ever seen!!!!
I knew I was Team Edward for a reason. ;)