lydamorehouse: (Default)
Though not by too many days!

Hello, hello! How's things? I don't have a huge amount to report. Friday was the day of forgetting things. I was just leaving the coffee shop when I got a text from Mason. He forgot his iPad at home. So, I headed home, picked it up, and then went back to school. As I was half way to school, he wanted to know if I could also grab earbuds? But I didn't get that in time to double back. I left his iPad with the school but then remembered we might have earbuds in the car, so I quick texted Mason to come back and grab them. He'd already headed back, but was able to turn around. That was all before 8 am!

Then, when I was getting ready to go to the coffee shop, I got a call from some guy trying to sell us on a paint job that made me unreasonably angry for various reasons, and I was so wound up about that that I brought my cord to the coffee shop, but forgot my laptop. I think that worked out okay, however, because it meant I was less distracted during the conversation we had about a story that [personal profile] naomikritzer was writing, which opened up a lot of interesting questions to me (none of which she was actually writing about, but hey) like: what's it like to know you're related to a criminal or a murderer (which I am) and any number of similarly fascinating philosophical questions.

What else... oh! Shawn finally watched "Infinity War" and we all saw "Solo." We ended up doing two movies because "Infinity War" was such a downer AND I had earlier tilted during a game of "Trivial Pursuit" that spilled over into another little snip. "Solo" was just what the doctor order. Y'all think it sucked, but I thought it was fine--entertaining, even.

Saturday Mason worked and I had my first session of a new Star Trek RPG game with a bunch of friends: [personal profile] jiawen [personal profile] bcholmes John T., and Sabs. MUCH FUN. As I've said earlier, I haven't role-played for some time and I had so much fun I ended up writing fan fic (in the form of my character's personal log) about our adventure.

Sunday we spent the day hanging out. Mason had an in-person D&D game, Shawn made a disastrous pie (it was a cannoli pie). Shawn notes that the "Idea" of the pie was good, but the flavor didn't suit us (me less than her). I did a lot of stamping, which I enjoyed.

This morning I woke and chatted a bit more with [personal profile] jiawen about life and the super, blood, wolf moon eclipse. Most of which I missed, because I CAN NOT with the late nights now that I'm old. (Shut up. 11 pm is late for me, okay??) Anyway, chatting with [personal profile] jiawen always fun, we can talk about anything for hours.

Then I did a lot of cooking. I tried to make cheesy puffy ball bread things, but they collapse. They were tasty though!

my sad cheese things

Very much like eggy popovers, which was fine since we ate them with lunch (spaghetti) with a hot marinara sauce dip.

Then we decided to have a big chicken roast, so I started roasting the bird around 1:30 pm, made mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, corn, cheddar bay biscuits (from a box), and chicken gravy. I managed the timing pretty darn perfectly, if I do say so myself, and the meal was a huge success.

So. LOTS of food today.

I managed to mostly keep up with my spells over the intervening days. I will give you a series of quick updates under the cut. I will note that I did spend the day after the DOWN THE DRAIN money spell, undoing it, and decided that was enough of a spell-of-the-day for that day, since it was supposed to be a day to get rid of something.

Spell-a-Day Project (Jan 18 & 19) )

Spell-a-Day (Jan 20) )
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
On Saturday, after taking Mason to work, Shawn and I decided to check out the ReUse Center of the University of Minnesota. That place is kind of a trip. Check out all the--I assume, abandoned--bicycles

an ungodly number of bicycles hanging from an industrial ceiling

There were all sorts of other things, too, like all the weird old science equipment that a mad scientist might want:


And, of course, books that had been culled from the University libraries:


We didn't find anything to take home, alas, but it was really fun to see all the stuff. We had much better luck at our earlier thrifting spot, GoodWill. Shawn found a few baskets, including a big wicker basket for laundry (something she always covets.) Also, she found more of a set of dishes that we'd picked up earlier. We swear that GoodWill has the whole set, but it only putting out a few pieces at a time.

So, while the rest of you fools are decluttering, Shawn and I are digging through your castaways.

Why? Because it brings us joy.

Saturday was actually a very good day all around. Mason came back from work and we had a lovely dinner. Shawn and I watched "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" (2018) which we had on DVD from Netflix (because we still get DVDs from Netflix.) I... didn't hate it? Shawn seemed to enjoy it, but woke up this morning to inform me that she'd had epiphany: "They should stop making sequels of these." I mean, she's not wrong? But, as I pointed out, DINOSAURS. Like, how else are we going to get a dinosaur movie in the future? Pretty much anything you do is going to seem like a rip off the Jurassic franchise. So, let them keep making them? I honestly love any movie where I can root for the dinosaurs. But, I will say that "Fallen Kingdom" had some moments that made me VERY SAD. Spoiler )

But, at the end of the evening, Shawn turned to me and said, "This was actually a *good* day." I had to agree.

Today, Sunday, was pretty good, too. We didn't do a lot, played Smash and hung out. I've been writing a lot of fan fic, some of which I posted today.  Then, we were going to have pot stickers for dinner tonight, but Mason's GF had to cancel last minute, and so we randomly decided to have fried chicken fingers and onion strips a meal we make while literally sitting in front of the deep fat frier.  Such a terrible meal. SO GOOD.  

I still need to do my spell of the day tonight, but, otherwise, I'd say it was a lovely weekend. 

How've you been?
lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
I think Marvel is taking a huge risk with "Avengers: Infinity War," splitting the story into two movies, a year apart... especially given That Ending.

A friend of mine who was surprised that my non-spoiler review on Facebook was a simple: "Remember this is Part ONE, everyone," was an indignant, "what was it like at the end of 'Empire Strikes Back' for people, then?" I said, "Since I was THERE, I can tell you, the screen went black and people started murmuring and then they flashed a giant TO BE CONTINUED."

"Infinity Wars" didn't have a 'To Be Continued."

"Infinity Wars" has only one after show teaser and if you don't understand everything that there is to know about the Marvel Universe, it could seem like the only point of that is a teaser for a new movie character (if you even get that out of it). Read more... )

Funny story about that, in the theatre I went to (which was mostly deserted, though we weren't the ONLY people there) I got super excited by that teaser and was the only person who shouted "WAAAAAH!" and when I realized I was the only person to have that reaction I said, "That means THIS THING (see spoiler cut above--or not)," and I got at least one sincere, "Oh. Thank you!"

So, I worry that there's no sense of hope.

I worry that there's too much time between Part 1 and Part 2 and that fandom will all have written a much better ending than what they'll end up getting in Part 2.

And, then there's this: a friend of mine at work, a librarian who is biracial, told me that she'd been warned off the film because it might "make black children cry."

Ummm... well, maybe?minor spoiler which maybe you don't know? )Also? We're talking about five minutes and the rest of the film is WONDERFUL and I'm really afraid that people aren't going to see it because of various warnings about That Ending.

So, I don't know. I mean, I LOVE, loved it for all of the bits in between. (Most of them anyway. genuine spoiler )

But, I mean, ultimately, I felt those were minor things.

All the kid lit shippers should die happy.

lydamorehouse: (swoon)
Robotics is coming to a close. Tonight, in fact, is the last night for building. Mason's team has until midnight Eastern Time (11 pm for us) to finish tinkering with their robot. After that, they have to shrink-wrap it and put it away until competition. I have no idea when I'll see my child tonight. I suspect the Washington team will go as late as possible (and my son will LOVE every minute of it.)

Luckily, he got to bed early last night.

And Shawn and I get a mid-week date night, so that works out pretty well. I suspect we'll catch up with "Victoria" and eat a lot of popcorn. Who says romance is dead?

Speaking of movies, I saw two this weekend. You'll never guess what the first one was.... yeah, actually, it WAS "Black Panther." My Marvel crew is always on top of things, so Mr. Murphy got tickets a week ahead, which was good because theaters were selling out. I had work at Maplewood from 10 am to 5 pm, and so I joked to Mason (who had spent from 8 am to 3 pm at "Week Zero" robotics, where they test their robot against the obstacle course for the first time) that both of us would be lucky to keep our eyes open. Hahahahahaha, yeah. No worries there. "Black Panther" was amazing. I don't have much to say about it that hasn't already been said, but I will add my voice to the chorus that recommends you to go, if you haven't already.

The other movie we watched was "The Great Wall." When Mason noticed us watching it he snarkily said, "Oh, I see, we're having the complete opposite experience from 'Black Panther' now, eh?" [If you're curious about the controversy around "The Great Wall" and somehow missed hearing about it when people were discussing it, Huffington Post pretty much sums up my argument about the movie: "No, 'The Great Wall' Isn't Racist Whitewashing (but The Question if it is a White Savior Movie is a Bit Tricker.)"]

What these two movies had in common was kind of surprising. Somehow, I missed that "The Great Wall" was a fantasy, where the Great Wall of China was kind like Wakanda in that it was fantastically science-fictionally advanced... the ancient China we want, full of amazing costumes, beautiful people, impossible heroics and acrobatics, and super-powered monsters.

Of course, in "Black Panther" the white people were superfluous to the plot (Tineey-tiny spoiler )), and the 'monster' was actually one of the more sympathetic characters who actually brought with him a legitimate conflict with real world implications.

It was an interesting double-feature, though, given the controversy around "The Great Wall."

I am not, by the way, recommending "The Great Wall." I found it to be somewhat vacuous, if pretty. The only thing going for it is that it very much had the vibe of a SUPER big budget version of a Hong Kong film, ala "Once Upon a Time in China" or "The Bride With White Hair" but with the annoying addition of Matt Damon. I can see why people cried "whitewashing," actually, because even though 8 out of 10 actors were Chinese, Damon's role is OBVIOUSLY the sort normally occupied by someone like Jet Li. It's kind of weird to see a white guy get the slo-mo slides and off-the-wall jumps, while shooting arrows... that's clearly supposed to be Li or Chow Yun Fat or Jackie Chan or Brigitte Lin or Michelle Yeoh.

So, I mean, "The Great Wall" and "Black Panther" both had the same number of white actors (3), were directed by PoCs, but one of these movies is a giant ball of Fail (at least in the US market. I have no idea how "The Great Wall" played in China. Okay, quick check reveals that Wikipedia says, "The film went on to gross $170.9 million at the Chinese box office, which is considered a disappointment.")

It was an interesting movie weekend.  The rest was same old, same old, I suppose.  I hinted at the fact that I worked at Maplewood on Saturday. That was another full day, but, wow, it was so much nicer to be at a place that respected my work. It went so much faster, despite being the same 7 hours. I also, because it's Maplewood, came home with a new manga series, which I read the first two volumes of last night called: The Girl From the Other Side / Totsukuni no Shoujo by Nagabe.  It's very "spoopy" as the kids might say.  I'm probably going to write up a review of it later today.

I guess that's me. You?
lydamorehouse: (??!!)
As I've said on Facebook, I have absolutely no idea why critics and fans are hating on this movie.

The criticisms, as I understand them, are: "Rey is a Mary Sue," "Luke Wouldn't," "Leia Can't," and "It's Messy." Let me try to tackle these, in order, from my point of view.

1. "Rey is a Mary Sue."

Why This is a Sexist Argument )

2."Luke Wouldn't."

Luke Was Never Who You Thought He Was )

3. "Leia Can't."

Okay, You Can Have This One, Haters, But I Liked It )

4. "It was a mess."

Yes, True, but No More Than Any Previous Star Wars Film )

The rest? I'm not going to tackle arguments that the Porgs are stupid. If you didn't like them, that's fine. But, don't act like it's the end of the world. No one liked the Ewoks, either, and somehow Star Wars survived their inclusion. At least the Porgs were just window dressing and weren't actually important elements of the plot.

The complaints that Kylo Ren is a waste of space? I got nothing. You like him or you don't. (I happen to have been a fan from the VERY FIRST moment that he stopped a blaster shot mid-air.) But he's always had his detractors. That's life. IMHO, Ren is still miles above Jar-Jar Binks. At least Ren isn't a walking racial stereotype.

Edited to add, okay, Haters, you like this one, too, so I'm going to blow it up.

5. "It's just a retread of the original series."

The Actual Word You're Looking for is HOMAGE )
lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
In reverse order.

Saint Paul has a lot of panhandlers. They tend to congregate at busy intersections. They're not as aggressive here as I am led to believe they are in other cities. No one runs out and tries to wash your window or anything like that. They just hold up various signs and attempt to figure out the right amount of eye-contact/no eye-contact that will illicit sympathy from Minnesotan drivers.*

Despite living here for over 30 years, I always fail this. I'm forever looking people in the eye. I compensate for this failure by smiling a lot. I figure if I've made accidental awkward contact, I might as well be pleasant about it. So, I'm looking out my window and I catch the eye of one of these panhandlers. He smiles broadly back at me and lifts his sign, which reads: "I bet you a buck you'll read this sign."

I laugh and reach for my wallet, because, yeah, okay, that's clever.

As I'm reaching, he excitedly runs back to his backpack and pulls out a carefully plastic wrapped pile of papers. When he takes my dollar bill, he hands me a sheet. "I'm a published poet," he tells us. "I'm going to have a reading one day. That's why I'm doing this." What can I say? I mean, I know a lot of poets, many of them professional, and it is not an easy life. Even really successful poets who try to only do poetry have a hard time making ends meet. So I take the poem with another sympathetic smile and say, "Good luck to you, my friend." He waves happily and goes back to his poetry spreading panhandling.

His poem is called "Real Love." His pen name appears to be BC the Black Clown.

"Ain't it sad?
So many people go through life
Never really feeling loved
Because when they open their heart
It gets crushed by the very one
That they gave their heart to
And ain't that sad?
That the amount of life that is received
Is often measured by
The amount of money given
The quality of the stability and comfort
And the degree of physical pleasures
Ain't that sad?"

It goes on in this fashion until it turns religious.... because, of course, you know who gives the perfect love? JE-sus.

I mean, I'm sure there's actually a place for religious poets, and I don't regret the dollar I gave him. Not only was his sign clever, but I paid a poet probably a better $/per word than they'd get trying to sell to a print or e-magazine.

The other big excitement of the day was going off with my usual Marvel crew to go see THOR: RAGNAROK. Eleanor, who hasn't seen Mason in several months, noted that his voice had dropped. Puberty is a thing, for sure, and Mason is getting hit hard all of a sudden. We also all noticed that Mason is now taller than Mr. Murphy**, by at least an inch.

Murphy bought us tickets at the AMC in Inver Grove Heights (the place I was supposed to see BLADE RUNER 2049, only ended up at the wrong comfy theater.) They have the reclining seats, which is nice, and assigned seating, which I find annoying, because inevitably people end up getting bunched together. I was knee-to-knee with a stranger, despite the fact that the row beneath us was empty. But, I couldn't let Eleanor, the introvert sit next to the strangers. That would be bad extrovert-to-introvert etiquette.*** If I'd thought of it, I'd have made Eleanor and Murphy switch once it was clear no one was going to be sitting between Murphy and the aisle. I only say this, because I predict now that Eleanor will not have liked this movie as much as she might have if she didn't have to sit surrounded by people (even friends. Since I have an introvert at home, I know how to care and feed introverts. Even having to sit that close to people she LIKES wears on Eleanor.)

We got to see some interesting previews. Of the ones I saw, I was most excited to see the new BLACK PANTHER movie. I was not super enthused by Ta-Nehisi Coates' Black Panther: Nation Under Our Feet when I read it, but I was excited to see that movie seems to be following the visual aesthetic of the comic book. The Shield Maidens, in particular, look bada$$.

As a fan of the first PACIFIC RIM, I was equally thrilled to see the sequel's preview, as well, of course, as the newest STAR WARS (I'm one of three people who actually LIKE the character of Kylo Ren, so I'm perfectly down for a movie that features more Kylo character moments.) The one preview that I think I was intrigued by that no one else in my set seemed that interested in was Matt Damon's DOWNSIZED. It looks... I mean, yeah, it totally vibes like a Stepford Wives cross with Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and I would NOT want to spend the outrageous movie ticket prices to see it first run, but I would totally Netflix it, if you know what I mean.

And then the movie.

I'm not going to spoil it at all (except a little bit under the cuts), so suffice to say that the humorous tone of the previews you've seen? It's that, all the way down. I personally did not mind the lighter tone. I'm not sure how a character like the Grandmaster would play (pardon the pun) if he was plunked into a movie that took itself even moderately seriously. HOWEVER, there are moments in THOR: Ragnarok that probably needed more there THERE.

Unless you're an Incredible Hulk fan, in which case this movie was 100% perfect for you. The Hulk gets, by far, the most poignant scenes (which given some of what transpires in Thor's life, and how complex his relationship SHOULD BE with his half-brother**** is a little... imbalanced?).

I have a friend, Rob Callahan, who had a brilliant take on the MCU franchise. He pointed out that each of the Marvel movies are kind of their own genres: you've got the war buddy film (Captain America), the melodrama (Thor), the industrial action flick (Iron Man), the heist (Ant Man), the space opera (Guardians of the Galaxy), and now, if you follow his point,... for some inexplicable reason you have fantasy comedy ala Princess Bride, (Thor: Raganrok.)

I'll be curious to know what the fan writer community thinks of this new addition to canon. Minor character moment spoilers, but several of them, so read at your own risk )

All and all, though, my complaints are minor.  Once you surrender to the tone, THOR: RAGNAROK is a fun film. The fight scenes always give this old Marvel fan a thrill because I can so easily picture the still framed panels they came directly out of.  

Speaking of that, I suspect one of the reasons that, of my group, I had less trouble with the tone of this particular movie is because it very much reminded me of some of the comic books I read Mason (particularly the All Ages+ of Fantastic Four) in the early-2000s, like "Fantastic Four: Doom, Where's My Car" and some of the more cheesy stuff that came out of the Chris Claremont era.*****

I used to read all that Grandmaster crap in the 1970s, and it was all like this. Only, I mostly ran across him in FF, so Reed Richards would outsmart the "games," but basically this is al that, plus a giant helping of "VERSUS" titles.  Do you remember those?  I think that's what they were called--but they'd always be these one shots Hulk vs. Wolverine! etc., etc., where the writers would contrive some scenario to make our heroes fight each other just to play the "who would win" game.  

The ways in which comic book canon is like a giant fan fiction community are, in point of fact, indistinguishable.

*Many Minnesotans are weird about eye contact. I say this as a transplant, who has lived here for 30+ years, and who has yet to figure out what the proper ratio of direct eye contact and "glance away" to use to make my colleagues comfortable in my presence. This is especially tricky when you're trying to sell people something, like, say, a book you've written.

**Sean. I would call him this, but as my wife is also named Shawn, we have gotten in the habit over the years of calling Sean "Mr. Murphy."

***It is my solemn belief that extroverts exist to spare introverts from certain things: phone calls, in-person sales people, pizza deliverer, and to act as HUMAN SHIELDS in crowds or at the occasional party that you've managed to drag your introverted friend / partner to.

****Fight me. Loki was always HALF-brother to Thor in comic book canon and this insistence on "adoptive" is bull CRAP. Though, I understand the need given fandom, but, darlings, adoptive or not they were still raised together so y'all better be warning for incest. Related Thor: Ragnarok minor spoiler )

*****Double plus fight me. Before you get on your high horse, let me remind you that Claremont is responsible of the X-Babies.  'Nuff said.

Nerd Day

Sep. 29th, 2017 12:52 pm
lydamorehouse: (ticked off Ichigo)
 Today, as I'm sure many of you know, the Nintendo dropped the SNES.  I spent a good portion of my morning attempting to get one, always arriving as the cashier said, "Sorry, my last one just walked out the door." The worst part being that I could have stood in line at GameStop, which opened later, BUT I had a press showing of Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman to get to at 10 am at the Lagoon Theatre, which I got to go to as part of my gig as a comic book reviewer for Twin Cities Geeks.

I can't talk about the movie until my review goes up, but I can tell you about my movie-going experience.  

At first, I didn't think I was going to make it. OMG. Lately traffic HATES ME, PERSONALLY. In between darting into various Target Superstores and Gamestops between here and Uptown, I managed to screw up my exit. Instead of taking 94 to Hennepin like I'd planned, I was thinking so hard about the SNES that I ended up on 35 W, which local folk will know, is under deep, deep construction.  The exit at 36th was blocked so I had to drive WAY OUT of my way at get off at 46th.  I managed work my way back, fighting Uptown traffic now, to park in the parking ramp behind the Lagoon (which ended up costing about as much as a ticket) and then it looked like no one was going to let me in to the actual theater. It was dark. The doors were locked.  But, eventually someone came and opened the door.  He still looked dubious about letting me in, but, apparently, the magic words were, "Press screening at 10?"

I checked in with the "woman with the clipboard" as instructed and was directed to theatre 5.  I haven't been to the Lagoon in forever. The theaters are small and dim. The seats are old and squeaky.

But it was just me and two other people...

...and that was really f*cking cool.

When I used to review movies for focusPOINT back in the late Cretaceous, I had a really hard time not loving everything I saw. I might be one of the only professional, paid reviewers on the planet who gave a positive review to the Matthew Broderick remake of Godzilla. Probably the thing most people remember about that movie, besides how (nearly) universally it was panned, was its poorly executed "Size Matters" ad campaign.

Anyway, part of the problem, I realized later when I found myself gushing about the Avengers remake (another film all my sensible colleagues panned, and I don't mean the Marvel one, obviously, I mean the one based on the TV series) is that it's just SO SUPER COOL to be the first to see a movie, ANY MOVIE, and it's free, right? So you don't have this whole "Jeez, I paid how much for THAT???!!" thing going on in your head, like, ever.

Plus, did I mention how super-secret you feel, getting in to somewhere no one else does? Way ahead of the official release date?  And, I realize there are people who do this for the Star Tribune, the New York Times or whatever and they've seen it all, and they're all so jaded, but even after a year of doing it for focusPOINT, I was like 'STILL AWESOME, SO, SO AWESOME. I LOVED THIS FILM, I LOVE ALL FILMS!!!"

Yeah, so, I'll have to remember to temper that impulse when I finally sit down to write my actual review.  

I drove home still attempting to find the SNES, but, at this point it was after noon, so all hope was lost.  At one Target they looked up to see who might have SNESs and I called around. The Roseville electronics department just answered the phone without even a hello, only saying, "We are sold out of the Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems." As sad as that was to hear, it still cracked me up.

Such a classic nerd day, though, don't you think?

Rogue One

Dec. 28th, 2016 08:09 pm
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
Things I can say above the spoiler cut:
  • I would say that Rogue One is one of those films that I left the theater feeling generally good about. Like, when I'm tossing away the remains of my popcorn bag, I'm saying, "Yeah, good film. Good film." But, the longer I think about it, the more I consider the missing bits. I still would rank this one of the better Star Wars films. I ADORED the way it dovetailed into Star Wars (known to you heathen children as "A New Hope.")
  • People were telling me that this film was a blueprint for fighting Fascism or that it was some kind of World War II film. It really isn't either of those things at all (though I wish it had been more of the latter, more about that under the cut). However, if this film saying anything political, it's that your liberal allies aren't revolutionary ENOUGH. If we're going to win at all, we need to say 'fuck 'em" TO OUR OWN PEOPLE. And that maybe, if we're already dying on the ground, they'll lend their ships. (Not sure this is a positive message. Might be accurate, but not at all positive.)
  • I didn't really like the two main characters (Jyne Erso, the daughter or Cassian Andor,he scruffy dude). My favorites were all side-characters, particularly the sassy K-2SO.
  • In comparison to The Force Awakens, I felt like 99.9% of the female cast was missing. Like, I just didn't see very many female faces among the rank-and-file, on the streets, or among the volunteers for the final mission. Ironically, some of the MIA women from Star Wars made cameos.
Okay, the stuff I'm going to say under the cut mostly revolve around two of my favorite side charters, affectionally known already in fandom as "the monk and the warrior." (character names: Chirrut Îmew and Baze Malbus, respectively.) Read more... )

Maybe that seems like a lot of complaining, but I'm still processing, is all. I'd love to hear squee about this film. Like I said, when I left the theatre I was very much in love with Rogue One.  Probably when I go see it again, I'll love it more.
lydamorehouse: (shield)
 I'm here in a Starbucks in Chicago, waiting for the SFWA Nebula Conference to wake up, so I thought I'd finally write down a few thoughts about Captain America: Civil War.  

Generally, I liked it.  There are a few things I think I can say about the movie 'above the cut.' as it were. Without spoiling, I want to talk about one of the fundamental differences between the movie and the comic book arc.  In the comic book, like the movie, there is an event that triggers a public outcry about the unchecked destruction that superheroes cause when they come blundering into situations, do their best, but sometimes civilian lives are lost.  In the comic book arc, the difference is that the destruction is caused, quite accidentally, by random "new" superheroes.  That's to say, "powered" people who have no affiliation with a superhero group like the X-Men or the Avengers.  As a result, part of what the public demands is a "superhero registration act" which not only requires any people with powers to offer themselves to the government, but ALSO requires long-standing superheroes to expose their secret identities as part of registration.

I think you can already see why, in the comic book version, someone from World War II might stop and say, "Uh... wait a minute... You gonna ask us all to wear stars next?"  (He had other really amazing observations which really resonated with everything that was happening during the time Civil War was written, which was during the Patriot Act, which DIRECTLY commented on things happening in the US.)

In the movie (and this isn't much of a spoiler, because, in many ways the movie is actually about Bucky's past), the accords only require the superheroes to subject themselves to oversight.  Now, the question is a lot more nebulous: who is in charge, what decisions do they get to make... ?  

But, what's missing in the movie is Captain America being far more articulate and CLEAR about why he, specifically, finds this situation squicky.  The thing that drove me absolutely buggy (later... because during the movie my only thoughts were: bam! crash! zap!) was that it was certainly all set up in the previous Captain America movies. All we would have needed is, during the scene where the gathered Avengers are looking over the accord (I do love that it's clear Captain America read EVERY PAGE) to have Cap say, "Guys, really? We're going to put our trust in a governing body... WHEN HYDRA WAS SECRETLY IN CONTROL OF S.H.I.E.L.D. FOR THE PAST FIFTY YEARS??"

MCU Captain America has a LEGIT reason not to want to sign something that gives away his decision making power to an organization he knows nothing about.

But, so. like, *I* thought of that, but it was _never_ said out loud by ANYONE in the movie.  

Which to me, made Captain America seem like a war-mongering vigilante.... which is... super not Captain America.

That's not to say there weren't things I loved. Again, no spoilers, but I thought Black Panther moved EXACTLY RIGHT.  I was having flashbacks to comic books I barely remember reading every time he did a jump or a four-point landing or a swipe with his vibranium claws.

Also, I loved Peter Parker/Spider-Man

Okay, a couple things I can't say without a spoiler block...
Read more... )So, those of you who saw it, what are your thoughts?
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 Mild SPOILERS not under cut

Last night, I saw Ant Man with my usual MCU crew (Eleanor Arnason and Sean M. Murphy). I have to admit to some trepidation going into this film.  For one, I was never a huge Henry Pym/Ant Man fan when I read him in the Avenger comic books in the mid-1970s/early-1980s when he was, ironically, mostly Yellowjacket (and sometimes Giant Man).  Also, having heard that the Ant Man of the MCU would be Scott Lang, I was a bit worried that was like having a Captain America movie with John Walker wearing the cowl.

Generally, I have to say the movie was fun.  It was a good heist film, with a hilarious "crew" (which, let's be fair, included ants.)  I was particularly fond of Luis, whose only superpower, apparently, is his mean upper cut,  with which he reputably remains the only inmate to have successfully knocked out the meanest thug in San Quentin.  And, of course, his amazing storytelling style.  I think we should all start petitioning now for Luis to have his own comic book title. (Unless already does, in which case someone please point me to them STAT!)

Unlike other films in the MCU, however, I didn't have a single nerdgasm at any particular moment.  Again, this is probably very much due to my not reading much of Ant Man, and him not being as iconic a character as, say, Tony Stark/Iron Man.  (Because I think I own exactly ONE Iron Man, but he's a feature in so many titles I've read, including, of course, the Civil War mega-arc, that I knew a lot about him and his villains, sidekicks, etc., going in.)   Yes, I say 'not iconic' knowing FULL WELL Ant Man was a founding Avenger along with the Wasp.  Thing is, you ask your average, on the street fan and they will laugh and say, "ANT... man?  Really?  Ant??"  (Well, not any more, but they did.)  Also,and this I will put under a cut ) 

In fact, I am starting to be slightly irritated by the seemingly 'one woman per film' rule Marvel has going on.  Yes, we get a five second cameo of another one and that person's story was critical to the plot, but... COME ON.  As much as I adored the 'heist crew,' I fail to see why ONE of them couldn't have been a lady.  The get-away driver, maybe?

Yes, Hope Pym was fairly bassassagain since this might be significant later... )--though my complaint there seems to be that badass is  the only mode Marvel can do lady in, atm (well, badass or vaguely undeveloped in the case of the Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch in Age of Ultron.)  So, besides "child in distress," I could have used a few more female faces. Marvel has a lot of female superheroes to choose from, and, you know, statistically there are just more of us alive at any given time.  

I'm a huge Marvel fan.  I had fun at Ant Man.  This isn't a huge 'boo.'  I just think it's one of those thing that I'm putting on my 'watch this' list.

lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
For the month of February I'm going to have the weirdest schedule.  Mason has Inter-Session at his school.  Inter-session is Crossroad's answer to not having a traditional summer vacation.  Mason has three weeks off from school now, will again in May, and then have the month of August off.  There are school programs if people have work issues, but we've always found a lot of value in the whole idea of taking time off to do the nothing Shawn and I remember fondly doing a lot of in the three months of summer vacation.  Other Crossroad's families take vacations.  For instance one of Mason's good friends is flying to New Zealand right now.

As you know, I've started a new job. I didn't feel entirely comfortable telling my new employer that I'm planning on just blowing off work for an entire three weeks (though I will feel *just fine* about it come May, because then I will have worked there a lot longer.)  The point is, I've agreed to work a bunch of evening hours.  Tonight I'll be at Roseville from 5 to 9.  I'll be at Maplewood tomorrow night, and then back to Roseville Thursday night (which I belatedly remembered is supposed to be Wyrdsmiths.)

Working nights is weird.  I'm sure I'll have other observations about it, once I've done it a few weeks in a row, but I think I sort of kind of like it.  What I like about it right now is that I feel like I have the day off, even though I don't.  For instance, I have the whole day to get stuff done. I'm sure I'll be super productive and do ALL THE THINGS.

(Miss Ball's opinion about how well that'll probably work out.)

But today is the day that I usually meet with some member of my writers' group to parallel play.  In other words, we sit together and write.  It's kind of our answer to the solitary life of a writer.  And, it can be a lot of fun, because you have an audience who understands when you'd rather be playing Solitaire or can't remember a synonym or just want to read the cool line you just wrote that you're super-proud of.

In other news: last night, Shawn and I finally saw "Elysium."  That's the science-ficiton film with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster? The one where the rich people have moved off Earth to a kind of Niven-esque ring world/L-5 colony?  Yeah, that one.  The one that looks super gritty?  Yeah, it was grim.  About as grim as I expected it to be, but it totally pushed some of my class buttons (in a good way.)  I long ago confessed to [ profile] naomikritzer that a science-fiction trope that ALWAYS works for me is "stop the line"/labor strike stories.  They'll show up as Very Special Episodes on shows like Battlestar Galactica or Star Trek and every damn time (even though it's essentially the same story) I'll get little tears and my eyes and secretly think it was the BEST EVER.  "Elysium" isn't quite that story made large, but there're elements of that trope in the movie... particularly the end, which I won't spoil beyond that.

There was a surprise character moment for me in "Elysium."  There's a mercenary/thief/fence-type named Spider who is pretty loathsome when you first meet him, but it becomes clear throughout the course of the film that he's weirdly... altruistic and kind of has been all along if you think about it for a few minutes.  He was my FAVORITE character, honestly.

So thumbs up?  Maybe.  I wouldn't necessarily tell you to go out of your way to see "Elysium," but I wouldn't warn you off it either.  I ultimately enjoyed it.  But Shawn had to look away several times because it was so gritty-dark and the beginning is so unrelenting that she kept asking, "Should we turn it off? Is this just going to be AWFUL??"  I'm glad we stuck with it, but, see: I can't exactly recommend it without reservations.

We were able to watch a movie like that last night, though, because Mason was PASSED OUT.  He'd had a sleepover the night before (Sunday to Monday, because of Inter-Session) and I kind of intentionally ran the kids around on Sunday.  Mason's buddy is a bit of a couch potato otaku, which are in point of fact MY people, but Mason can get irritable and restless if he sits ALL DAY.  So we let them game well into Sunday night and then yesterday I got them involved building marble towers (those Rube-Goldberg-type things) and then took them sledding at the St. Paul Country Club's golf course hill.


So, yeah, there's a date stamp now.  That's not from my camera, but from the stupid Mac iPhoto.  (Man, I hate Macs. I don't know why people are such proponents.)  At any rate, they had a lot of fun, but the rest was that Mason crashed sometime before dinner and we couldn't even rouse him to eat.  So, he slept until this morning--a whopping 13 and a 1/2 hours!  I told him he's getting practice in for being a teenager!


Jul. 24th, 2013 09:02 am
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
My friend [ profile] naomikritzer has a theory that the way "Inglorious Bastards" was pitched by Quentin Tarantino was that he was sitting around at a bar with a bunch of Hollywood types and started saying, "You know what never gets old? Killing Nazis!" I now have a similar image of Guillermo Del Toro selling "Pacific Rim" by saying, "You know what would make Gozilla better? Giant Robots!"

By happenstance I ended up going out with my movie buddies, [ profile] seanmmurphy and Eleanor Arnason, to see "Pacific Rim" last night (in 2-D). I actually called Murphy last night to hear about his baking bread date with a five-year old and somehow in the course of that conversation I ended up on a movie date with my two movie besties.

I have no regrets.

Eleanor, I think, might have preferred to stay home and play Solitaire on her Kindle.

The fun of "Pacific Rim" can be summed up pretty simply: "There were monsters! There were robots! They fought!" I think Del Toro let you know that was the kind of film he was making in the ten minute introduction/montage at the very beginning where our big set up to the world of "Pacific Rim" was simply: alien monsters are coming out of a rift/wormhole in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, we called them kaiju. We built giant robots to fight them. We got really good at killing the kaiju, and then suddenly things were different and it got harder...

That's all the plot of the entire movie, except like any good shonen action storyline: when things get harder, we FIGHT harder. The kaiju power up! Oh, no! We must power up! This cycle is on repeat until someone wins (hint: it's always us.)

If you go into this film expecting even ONE IOTA more than this, you're sure to be disappointed. Snappy dialogue? Nope. Amazing world-building? A little. As has been discussed on io9 and other places, there's some science in this fiction. The way that the robots are operated has a lot of fun world-building thinky-thoughts. Compelling characters? One: Mako Mori (played by Rinko Kikuchi), but she's not the main character--though, IMHO, she should have been, as her backstory is the most compelling AND her moment of honor and revenge is by far the more satisfying (and involves a sword!)

Like the original "Godzilla" import that Mason and I watched (see my review here:, "Pacific Rim" should really be about the Japanese character(s, in the case of the original.) The Western story feels a bit pasted on. That would be a weird intentional homage, so I have to simply assume that the bad storytelling was a mistake.

In fact, Eleanor argued that "Pacific Rim" was dull and could never be called a "good" film. I think we were arguing semantics last night because, for me, "Pacific Rim" was more fun than good. I had no expectations of good. (There were monsters! There were robots! They fought!) More to the point, a film like this can never be "good," though I thought it was tremendously fun (There were monsters! There were robots! They fought!) The visual effects were, sadly, occasionally muddy (it would have been AWESOME as Anime), but there were monsters....

You get the idea.

I would totally recommend the movie to any Godzilla fan. It you can shout out Gamera! or Mothra! with glee, this film is for you. If this....


...makes you unaccountably happy or brings back fond memories of late night movies as a kid, "Pacific Rim" is for you.

Because, there were monsters! There were robots! And they fought!
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
First of all, I have to let people know that an anthology my short story "God Box" is going to appear in is doing one of those kick-starter things, so if you're inclined, please help them out at: The anthology is a follow up to SHE NAILED A STAKE THROUGH HIS HEAD, which featured Biblical horror stories. This one will be called KING DAVID AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS. My story, alas, takes place on Ganymede, and while it doesn't feature any spiders, does retell the golden hemorrhoids story. Because golden hemorrhoids are horror.

In other news, I've been somewhat incommunicato because Mason returned from Indiana with a cough that was very reminiscent of Whooping Cough. So, we kept him out of school for the past few days until the test results from the clinic came back. I'm pleased to be able to say that they were negative. He's back at school today--although very, VERY bummed about it. I thought we might be out a while so I took him to the library yesterday and we had a little checking out "accident" of about twenty-one books. And, yes, he'll read most of them by the time they're due back--partly because at least five of those were Toriko manga, all of which he finished yesterday before bedtime.

Mason is not fond of school. It cuts into his reading time.

My only other "news" is that Shawn and I finally watched "Magic Mike," the stripper film. I should preface my review by saying, you know, I like pretty men. I like watching pretty men get semi-naked. Yeah, I'm a lesbian, but I can appreciate all the glistening rock-hard abs and whatnots. But OMG THIS FILM WAS BORING. Let me give you some sample dialogue: "So... um, like, hey." [long pause] "Hey."

I'm not making this up. It was as if the director decided to be "artsy" and go for hyper-realistic dialogue. That can be cool, but ONLY IF THE CHARACTERS AREN'T MORONS. Seriously, the two main characters Mike and Adam have mind-numbingly stupid conversations for hours. Most of which were made up of those kind of grasping, half-finished sentences that dripped into other thoughts without any context or preamble. Characters who were "fast talkers," ie anyone who completed a sentence in less than twelve hours, really stood out. Okay, that's an exaggeration, because it couldn't have possibly been actual _hours_, because the film is only a couple of hours long, but holy shit it felt like a glacial age was passing before these two dolts of supposedly sympathetic main characters said anything of substance. Oh, and I should say that substance usually was signaled by, "Shit. Fucking shit, man."


And the there was dancing.

The dancing was fine, honestly, as it picked up the pace of this film by lightspeed jumps, and Matthew McConaughy's charcter had potential. Actually, they all did, but the story was hampered by DULLNESS. The love interest spends half her time looking so depressed to be there that I finally decided she was a symbol of THE AUDIENCE.

Shawn kept saying to me, "Can we turn it off now?" I doggedly said, "No! It will get better! People said this had a story!"

People LIE.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
I'm pretty sure my dad has a secret identity--as Leonard Nemoy. The older Leonard Nemoy gets the more he looks like my father. Seperated at birth? Maybe, but I can tell you this for a fact: I've never seen my dad and Leonard Nemoy in the same room at the same time.

At any rate, since Mason was still away at Audubon overnight camp last night, Shawn and I hit a matinee showing of Star Trek: Into Darkness.

As I said on Facebook, my first impression was: WHEEEEEEEEE! and then, afterwards, Shawn and I sat down with the io9 spoiler FAQ , which we'd bookmarked just for this moment, and laughed our asses off. Because, as I told my friend [ profile] empty_mirrors, ST:ID the kind of movie that really only works with your brain turned fully off, and you just sit back and enjoy the show.

Because it is quite the show. And there's nothing wrong with that.

It had been so long since Shawn was in a movie theatre, she couldn't get over the concession prices. She asked me during the previews, "Are you sure this is the right size popcorn?? For TEN DOLLARS??" Since, at matinee prices, that meant we paid more for popcorn than we did to see the movie.

It was interesting to see the movie with other people. Some people clearly didn't know the big spoiler of who Benedict Cumberbatch is playing that's been around the Internet for ages, and there were audible gasps when he revealed it. I found several laugh-out-loud moments no one else in the theatre seemed to find funny, but then I'm easily amused. (I will admit to laughing at a serious moment, and I apologize to my fellow theatre goers, but COME ON!)

A couple of other things I can talk about outside of the spoiler cut, is that I left the theatre asking Shawn what happened to the warp drive in this alternate universe. (BTW, I kind of love that ST movies have become their own fanfic, as the reboots can clearly be labeled: AU.) It used to be in OT (Old Trek, for the fandom newbies,) there were degrees of warp. "Drop us down to warp 2, Mr. Sulu." Now the warp engines are either on or off. Frankly, that makes slightly more sense than imagining a space ship hurtling through... well, time at that point, really, at NINE TIMES the speed of light. But, it's one of those things I missed, though I will say that the special effects of warp is COOL.

So, okay, building on what io9 says about the cheap shots of using old Star Trek tropes, I will say one thing that is starting to not work for me is seeing the Enterprise (nearly) destroyed. The first time it happened, I balled like a baby. Because this was OUR Enterprise that we'd been with through nearly a hundred episodes and several movies. But, AU Enterprise is nothing to me. I don't know these people yet, not really. They have the names of beloved characters, but entirely different back-stories. The same is true for this Enterprise. But seeing NCC-1701 in flames still hits me where it hurts, because LOYALTY, you know?

As io9 also points out Kirk seems to have to go though the same character arc. What would have been a good moment to prove that AU-Kirk is becoming OT-Kirk might have been after, during the year time skip, if there had been a montage of funeral after funeral after funeral until we get to Pike's. Just a close-up on Kirk's concerned face, as he hands out YET ANOTHER folded up UN flag. Because OT-Kirk was always telling his enemies, "There's 423 [or however many] souls aboard that ship" and he always knew the EXACT number, and you got the feeling that, even though it became its own trope, he gave a shit every time a red shirt bit it. And to see the captain of the ship going to petty officer Jo/Jane-schmoo's funeral is a powerful thing. I SAYS something about the character of the man. Something we instinctively ASSUME about AU-Kirk, but never get to really see.

Now, to defend ST:IN for a moment. The biggest caveat should be a reminder that all my comments/criticisms are post-high let down. I really enjoyed the hell out of this movie. io9 went on at great length about 'teh stupid' of the opening sequence. I LOVED THAT PART BEST. Why? Because it's such a beautiful homage to OT. All teh stupid was AT LEAST as ridiculous as some of the crap OT-Kirk pulled for THREE SEASONS and I loved those old shows to pieces. The irony of Spock worrying about the Prime Directive when he apparently (I'm thinking, drunkenly,) signed on to the plan that involved Kirk and McCoy stealing a sacred relic is CLASSIC FUCKING TREK. So, bite me, io9. That was the best damn part of the movie, IMHO. It does not bear nit-picking, but a person could make a career out of tearing apart all the stupid, non-science, poor planning of every single episode of OT.

Shawn was saying in the car ride into work this morning that the first scene was like the entire crew of the AU-Enterprise was like a floating frat house from the Academy. Their 'plan' seemed totally hatched after too many beers and bongs, you know? "Dude, I know, I know--let's get everyone away from the earth-killing volacano by running. Cuz, you know, no one will stay behind, and we can totally get far enough if we really haul ass. And I see NO FLAWS in this, do you?"

Makes more sense if you imagine that's how it went.

Shawn also thinks I'll start Cumberbatch-Fail if I say this, but, while I ADORE him in Sherlock, I thought Cumberbatch over-emoted every single line he had as Khan. What was up with his lips? Why so many close-ups on them? Not attractive. He actually often works for me as Sherlock, but maybe that's because with better writing and directing, Cumberbatch gives Sherlock some lovable vulnerablity. And, invulnerable Khan was a bad fit, IMHO.

Okay, YET no one has made much of the other fact that among the twist-ups of this AU is the fact that Star Fleet is now canonly evil. Khan is attempting, thoughout the whole thing, to STOP STAR FLEET FROM PROVOKING WAR WITH THE KLINGONS. Maybe we're suppose to think that turns out to be a front for him trying to rescue his crew, but he does seem to be acting the role of a peace-maker. He saves Kirk when he doesn't need to (during the blast through space.) He could have taken the Dreadnaught (btw, fan sqee! I remember the Dreadnaught in my Technical Manual,) on his own. Presumably, he was thinking "hostage," but he still would have had Scotty and Carol what's-her-name.)

Also, the time-skip kind of glossed over the fall-out from the fact that Kirk was complicit in treason against the commander of Star Fleet, but that's par for the course.

One last ramble-y thought: when I first heard the spoiler that Cumberbatch was playing Khan, I thought that maybe we'd finally see the Eugenics War. The Eugenics War is one of several OT throw-away 'historical' moments that has been fodder for my plot bunnies since I was in high school. Like, before we got the animated show, what the mysterious references to The Clone War were in the original triology of Star Wars. I was kind of disappointed that JJ Abrams missed the opportunity to start that war. What's fun about AUs is that you can mess with time lines and play 'what-ifs.' What if the Eugenics War starts later? What if Kirk and crew are a live to fight in it?

But, as usual, they didn't ask me. I could have helped. Clearly.

Iron Meh

May. 8th, 2013 08:18 am
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
First, I want to say: library day was a big success. I ended up reading the first three Manga volumes of Naruto. (I'm totally hooked!) Mason read the newest "janitor" book as well as one called JINX, which he'd had on hold. It was kind of cool to pick out books, check them out, read them while sitting there, and return them before we left for the day. We also had money on a Noodles & Co. gift card we got for Christmas, so we had a free lunch (and they say there's no such thing!)

In the middle of the day I got a text from my Marvel Movie buddy [ profile] seanmmurphy. He's been wicked busy, so he finally had some time to go see Iron Man 3 and did I want to go? Of course I did!

A lot has been said about this movie. I read Charlie Jane Anders' review in io9 and so I was expecting big things. Entertainment Weekly also gave it a A-.

I... was less impressed. As I've said on Facebook, I was never a huge Iron Man reader back in the day, so my comic book canon fu is low when it comes to villans and story lines in the Iron Man title. ("The Wolverine" is going to be a tougher sell for me because Silver Samurai and the whole Japan storyline was a favorite of both Shawn and mine back in the day.) But what I'm saying is, my problems with Iron Man 3 had nothing to do with any kind of canon fail... at least not in a nit-picky kind of way. But it also meant that the SPECTACLE of the suits worked for me, but only so far...

I will say in what I hope is a spoiler-free way, that Marvel very carefully gives its heroes weaknesses that are critical to the character, and I felt, at the end, perhaps Tony Stark's was severely undercut.

I think my problem was very simply that Tony Stark never changes. A bunch of stuff happens to him in this movie that sort of parallel Thor's fall from grace, but, unlike with Thor, I never felt a real transformation from Tony. I never bought he was humbled by any of it, because he remained the quippy, surface guy he was in the very first Iron Man movie (well, more like who he is in the 2nd Iron Man and Avengers, because at least in the origin story he has to go from military industrial playboy wanker to superhero playboy wanker.)

But what about the panic attacks, you argue? My problem there was that, while they were a good character moment (and possibly the first on-screen version of superhero PTS) he got over them INCREDIBLY EASILY and, more importantly, they never happened to him during battle, when losing his nerve could have actually cost himself his life OR SOMEONE ELSE's. Thus, they were kind superflious to the plot... and honestly to his character development. He doesn't seem to learn anything having gone through them, about the perils of being a hero. Sure, he's worried about Pepper and throws away his electro-magnet heart, but I just don't buy it. He'll be back. He's Iron Man. He says so at the end, which, again undercuts any real tension and character development.

So, yeah, I felt Iron Man was sort of Iron Meh.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Last night Mason had a sleepover at a friend's house. They don't have school today because it's parent/teacher conference time, so said-friend invited a bunch of boys over for a birthday party/sleepover. At any rate, this meant that Mama and I got to have a date night.

The last couple of times Shawn and I tried to plan something even vaguely elaborate like going out to dinner or having people over, Shawn got horribly sick (once with the stomach bug and once with a migraine). So I told her, let's not plan anything. Let's just see where the night takes us. So, the night took us to watching BOURNE LEGACY on DVD, which I have to say is the single worst example of storytelling possibly of all time. I'm probably exaggerating because I'm sure something is worse. However, this one really stuck out because it seemed like there were several things that could have been done to fix it fairly easily. I feel like no one told the filmmakers that basic rule of storytelling: start with action. If they'd started with the cabin in the woods scene (a little character set-up) and then blown the thing up, and let OUR HERO figure out that his own people are trying to exterminate the entire super-soldier program that ONE CHANGE ALONE would have made a huge difference. Also a little "show don't tell." If the big conflict we're supposed to sympathize with our hero over is him "running out of brains" then we need to see the HORRIFYING CONSEQUENCES OF WHAT THAT MEANS.

As it was it was jumbled and confusing, and thus ulimately boring because I couldn't care less about what was at stake for our hero or the love interest.

The love interest, at least, got to have the single LEAST sympathy-inducing line of all time. When our hero is explaining why he has to take the risk to go to the next place (keep in mind he's a killer who has been losing bits of his soul with each murder he does as a tool to the system that spawned him) she starts sobbing, "You don't understand. You probably don't care, but I've made sacrifices too. I couldn't publish! I couldn't CONFERENCE!!"

Shawn and I actually laughed so hard we had to rewind. I would have ADORED this film to pieces if the Bourne-stand-in hero dude would have shot her at that point. Because, seriously, this is your big sacrifice? You couldn't watch the power point presentations! You couldn't get the tote bag! The college coffee mug! The per diem!! Don't you understand I didn't get the cheap cheeses at the meet-and-greet!!?? I missed out on the inside snark fest of Academia!!

As someone who is the child of a professor, I do actually GET that colleagues and publishing and conferencing is one of the big perks of the job. But would you really whine about it to a professional killer whose GENES you manipulated as part of your "research"?

Did I mention she was living in a gorgeous Victorian on a 100 acre lot?

But she COULDN'T CONFERENCE, people!!! Don't you feel her sacrifice!?

Okay, all my professor friends. Feel free to tell me I shouldn't mock. I mean, how would I feel if I could never attend a science fiction convention again? Hmmmm, yeah, still I'm not feeling the HUGENESS of that. Sorry.

In other news, I continue to be a weirdo. I know. Alert the media, right? I say this because yesterday afternoon Shawn had a hair appointment in Edina at the "Hair Police." I always wait for her at a nearby Starbucks. There, I overheard a barista talking about how Nikolai Tesla invented "I mean, like, everything, man. EVERY-thing." I had to at least support him to his friends who didn't seem to have ever HEARD of Tesla, but then we got into an argument about genuis and insanity.

I have to admit this is a personal pet peeve of mine. I kind of hate that trope because I think that it makes creative people afraid of the medication they need to be stable and healthy. I think that stability and (financial, emotional, societal) support is what artists, writers and inventors need much, much more than teh crazy.

Being a weirdo I think is a fine requirement for the creative life. Being ctually medically crazy? Nope.

I'm pretty sure the people at Starbuck thought I was nuts. I mean, this is Minnesota, not New York! Not only did I barge into a conversation with strangers, but then I argued with them! Werid-O! :-)
lydamorehouse: (Default)
St. Patrick's Day Observed was for us, as it was for a lot of people I suspect, Saturday.

We took Mason to his usual swimming lessons in the morning -- alas he didn't pass to level 5, but, tbf, "stroke improvement," which is where he's at is very hard. This is also a Red Cross program so they don't just automatically pass anyone who shows up enough. There are serious standards.

Our big social event was the party at [ profile] naomikritzer's house, where we were looking forward to ingesting the traditional corned beef and cabbage. We were not disappointed. I had a great time talking to [ profile] pegkerr and her daughter and seeing [ profile] haddayr and family again. The only lampshade/dim shablows moment was that I think I may have actually gotten a bit buzzed on the trifle (which is pretty sad. But, yes, I'm that much of a light weight.)

Mason kept us there quite late because he joined a game of "Clue." But I think good times were had by all.

Sunday was a complete pajama day, so I was an utter slug and did nothing useful. We tried to watch "Branded" last night--a science fiction film about advertising (in Russia.) It was... surreal. There was a burning of a red heifer and attack logo muppets. And those are the easily accessable parts. YEAH. If I were feeling more coherent I'd summarize the movie better and maybe even offer a review, but I'm not sure my brain is up to trying to explain the "space cow"/voiceover.

Unlike Shawn, I watched it through to the bitter end. I should have recorded the recap I gave her in the bathroom while she was brushing her teeth, but all you would have heard was a lot of 'what?' and 'are you serious?' and laughter.

Yeah, so it was called "Branded," and you could give it a miss, I think.

Today, I'm trying to work on Elite Forces, but I keep getting distracted by research into the Red Planet. Shawn found me a copy of THE CASE FOR MARS: THE PLAN TO SETTLE THE RED PLANET AND WHY WE MUST by Robert Zubrin, which I've started to read. I also listened to a couple of podcasts on Mars, and discovered a lovely site called "Universe Today", and their Guide to Space (not, alas, the Hitchhiker's Guide, but close enough.)

So total word count ON PAGE was pretty sad. I did a good amount of research, though.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
I have a reoccurring nightmare. It involves getting on an elevator, often at a business, but sometimes at a high-rise dorm (which I had at my alma mater). I press the button to go to the floor I need, and suddenly the elevator goes too fast, has no walls, spins around, goes sideways, or any number of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sorts of options. It's not the kind of nightmare where I wake up screaming for my mommy in a cold sweat. It does, however always stick in my mind and disturb the calm of the day afterwards with fleeting memories of the dream sensations.

Last night, my subconscious came up with a most clever solution. When you see an elevator, don't get on!


Of course, I then spent the rest of the dream trying to rescue a friend who did get on the elevator and thus had fallen into the clutches of some evil half-way house for at-risk teens. Me and the cab-driver (the character of "Sasha" from EastEnders) and I came up with all sorts of distractions in order to save this young man... which we eventually did by bringing the building super in. That's where things go weird in a very dream-like way... however, the point is, I saved the boy AND DIDN'T RIDE THE ELEVATOR. A good night.

I'm pleased to have had such a successful subconscious because last night people were wrong on the Internet again. I got into a very brief Facebook fight with a friend who had posted a link to this: Conor Lastowka's Tumblr comments, a sort of backlash to io9's decision:

There are only a couple of things I want to say. The most mature of which is, "Nyah, nyah, nyah, shut up, we won!"

The second is actually in response to something my friend said on his Facebook status. He suggested that fan fic writers were inviting criticism by posting their work in a public forum. He said that everyone takes their lumps as creative artists.

My first response was a gut-level "yeah, but we're professionals, those are the dues we can expect to pay..."

But, I was thinking about that a lot as I was falling asleep because, you know, he's right. Fic forums are public venues. However, the analogy my brain came up with was this: fan sites are as public as, say, a gay bar. The Gay 90s is a public place. Everyone is allow in, but there's an assumption that those of us who go there are entering a space just for us, where we can be surrounded by like-minded folks. It may not be officially a safe space, but there's a sort of assumed privacy. No one is expecting a straight reporter from Comedy Central to bust in and start mocking someone for wearing lame pants.

I think the analogy is especially useful because one of the things that I felt like was happening was an "oooh, look at the kinky weirdos" parade. Sherlock enema fic! Water sports Harry Potter! And, as a lesbian, I find that sort of thing particularly hurtful, because not that long ago, what I did in the privacy of my own bedroom was considered a disease.

And of course some fic writing is dreadful. Some pro writing is dreadful. 'Nuff said. Because, you know, the good guys won this one. So I'm going to let it go.

Updated to add: So my partner, who often acts as a "clipping service" sent me a link to this early review of the The Hobbit movie from the Hollywood Reporter:

I particularly resonated with this quote, "If The Hobbit had been filmed shortly after the book's publication in 1937 (it's a wonder that it wasn't), one easily could imagine a lively affair full of great character actors and cleverly goofy special effects that would have moved the story along in smart style in under two hours." Except, I'd like to see THAT movie with TODAY'S special effects.

I was expecting to be disappointed, particularly when I found out that Mr. Jackson was breaking this movie into three parts. But, it was kind of my Captain America. I was holding out hope that, despite my fears, it would turn out ridiculously awesome. Because, like Captain America, I have a lot invested in the Hobbit. Of all of JRR Tolkien's works, THE HOBBIT is my favorite. It is the first "grown up" book that I remember reading cover-to-cover and more than once. It's also Mason's favorite, and, thanks to him, I've read the entire book out loud. It's a cleverly funny book (reminiscent, in my mind, at least, of the soft, domestic humor of Beatrix Potter,) and, actually, as such things go, very fast-paced with a lot of action and a F*CKING AWESOME DRAGON.

So, I'm still hoping that the reviewer is wrong, or, conversely, that it turns out I'm one of the purists who will enjoy the crap out of the extended version. Fingers remaining firmly crossed!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Even though Shawn thought I was fairly crazy, I went out last night with some folks I only sort of know through the Internet and fandom to the midnight showing of "Thor." More than that, I paid over twice the usual price for movie tickets for the privilege.

But you know what? It was AWESOME.

I need to preface anything I have to say about the film by the fact that I'm NOT, nor have I ever been, a Thor fan. As I said before, I remember looking over my cousin Laun's shoulder at various Silver Age issues of Thor. I vaguely followed the Beta Ray Bill storyline of the early 80s. But Thor was never a title I sought out or bought for myself. Of course, I knew about him from his various interactions with the Avengers and other titles that I preferred.

Part of my inability to attach to Thor as a character is, in point of fact, the whole God thing. I was never a big fan of Superman because I like the heroes that bruise more easily. For me part of being heroic is the courage it takes to stand up to powers much stronger than you are. Thor is a freaking God. Hard to be stronger than that.

On top of that rather major character issue, I was also a snotty kid. I thought the title was full of people with strange names and hard to pronounce words, like, Mjöllnir. Plus, people talked weird (and in a weird font) on Asgard. They had very stylized costumes and Jack Kirby made everyone look square (literally) and kind of grumpy.

The writers of the movie deal with the God-issue very nicely, IMHO. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to tell you that, in the movie, Thor gets cast out of Asgard for being a self-centered git. Odin strips him of his powers and, he spends the rest of the film attempting to be worthy of Mjöllnir again. For me, that’s a classic Marvel conundrum. It’s like Spider-Man’s “with great power, comes great responsibility” only it’s more like, “heroes need humility as well as strength to be truly great.” Though, humility isn’t quite the right word in this situation. One of the things I love about what the writers explore in the Thor movie is the idea of what it means to be a hero. The turning point in the movie actually stirred me. I cared about Thor enough to care whether or not he came through the other side of his challenge.

That’s pretty miraculous, IMHO, since normally I could care less.

It helps, though, that the actor who plays Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is a complete hottie. (IMDB just informed me that he played Kirk’s dad in the Star Trek reboot. Cool!)

I also really ended up liking what they did with Loki, who, from my memories of the Thor comic books (which, granted is very sketchy), could very easily have been played as a larger-than-life EVIL villain. What they did in the movie, IMHO, was make him the hero of his own story in a way, frankly, that I found very sympathetic. Both Thor and Loki have serious daddy issues/needs to prove themselves MEN, but they manifest completely differently.

I went to the movie with David J. Schwartz (author of Superpowers) . He was saying that what they did with Loki in the movie is very different from Thor canon. This is one of the moments where not being a hardcore Thor fan probably helped me enjoy the movie more.

Also, my other companion did not like the look of Asgard, but, for me, it looked exactly like something Jack Kirby might have imagined. In fact, all the costuming on Asgard really felt Kirby-esque to me, which could either be a plus or a minus depending on how you feel about his particular style. Though (and I realize this is sort of blasphemy) I normally am not a huge Kirby fan, I thought it really worked in the film.

My last couple comments about the Thor movie is that it seemed clear to me that Kenneth Branaugh is a big, fat fan (very likely of Silver Age Thor). There were lots of “money shots” early and often, including spinning hammers and lightning strikes. I laughed out loud (and sometimes by myself) at a few of the fan insider jokes, including what it probably the best Stan Lee cameo of all the Marvel films.

The biggest flaw in the film was Natalie Porter, who played a revised version of Jane Foster. It was hard to imagine her as a love interest, especially since Darcy Lewis (played by Kat Dennings) is WAY cuter and funnier. I totally fell for her in the movie and could not understand what Thor saw in Jane.

Anyway, for me, it was one of the best Marvel films to-date. Right up there with Ironman (#1).

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