Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Star Wars The Force Awakens Review

I have never been more frightened to write a review in my entire life.  I think Disney could have saved millions of dollars on promotion by just releasing one trailer, and letting the Church of Star Wars fanboys/fangirls do the rest.  The indoctrination of the masses has reached epic brainwashing proportions, and it seems you can't even have a serious intellectual debate anymore.  Either you love everything about Star Wars, or you're an idiot, a loser and probably a bed wetter.  Actually, you can dislike Star Wars... as long as you're talking about the Prequels. 

But I'm not here to rehash my love of sci-fi/fantasy, imagination, creativity and respect for the mythos George Lucas created.  Nor am I here to talk about my utter disdain for J.J. Abrams as a director, as I did here, and here... and here.  I'm here to say that I finally found a theater that wasn't sold out, that had available parking, and post Christmas shopping stupidity to finally watch Star Wars Episode VII:  The Force Awakens.

The plot (non-spoiler):  It's Star Wars, thirty years after Return of the Jedi.

After watching with a very open mind, in my humble opinion (if I'm still allowed to have one), there were many elements I enjoyed!  And some parts... I didn't *ducks*  If you loved it, that's great!  I'm very happy for you!  But I want to be clear about why I didn't enjoy SOME of it, so I'd like to break down all the players (playas?) as clearly as I can, so I don't get beaten up by nerds/geeks for my lunch money.  And for the record, these are my opinions.  I'm not trying to jump on some bantha wagon of haters and I'm not trying to use any jedi mind tricks on anyone.  I can only hope you can understand my perspective.

The real hero of this movie is producer Kathleen Kennedy. I'm beginning to appreciate more and more how much influence a good or bad producer has on the final release.  Many years ago, an idiot producer named Rick McCallum played Yes-Man to every moronic idea from George Lucas and helped create three movies with very little substance but lots of pretty effects.  Today, we call them Prequels.  Another director I used to love, Zack Snyder, was guided to make the horrible appearance of Man of Steel.  Then you have Kevin Feige, who is the super genius that produced some of the greatest Marvel movies ever, (Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers, etc).  And Gary Kurtz, the original producer of Star Wars A New Hope, helped prove there is good in Lucas after all.  Ironically, Rick McCallum was producer of the Special Edition.

Kathleen Kennedy's credits include the original Poltergeist, Gremlins, Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Jurassic Park, and many more.  And maybe they can't all be winners, *COUGH*indianajonesandthecrystalskull*COUGH*, but she definitely has proven she knows how to oversee and guide a project to create a fantastic film.  So, credit where credit is due... She helped reign in director J.J. Abrams, because it doesn't look like his typical style.  Maybe she helped him understand what a real color palette is, and convinced him not to use the shaky cam, and finally helped him recover from his lens flare addiction.  Or maybe they had many important meetings after reading my blogs.

Either way, giving proper credit, Abrams made a lot of fun ship battles.  There were some great moments watching the Millennium Falcon and X-Wings flying around.  And I have said in the past, he knows how to make ships look cool as he did in his version of Star Trek.  So for the most part, visually, surprisingly, it works.

Now let's talk story...

The credits list Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt.  I want to know exactly who wrote what for this movie.  I have a lot of respect for Kasdan for writing the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.  I respect Arndt for writing Oblivion... but that's about it.  Abrams helped create/wrote for Lost and Fringe, which are two shows I kind of liked... sometimes.  So I want to know what each person added to The Force Awakens, because honestly... the writing was just okay. 

There were some nice ideas, but for the most part, the plot was very thin, and a re-hash of everything we saw in A New Hope.  And I'm pretty sure they pulled the Devil/Super-Devil scene from Family guy, ("This here's your Death Star.  And this is the Super Death Star.").  Sure we get some interesting new characters that have a lot of potential, and there were some nice lines of dialogue... but some eye rolling lines of dialogue as well.  It does have a decent sense of humor, and lots of fun action sequences, but almost no backstory that gives any motivation and help us understand exactly what's going on and why.

"Oh Deeesher, you're such a hater and total idiot!!  Everything will be explained later!".  And that's fine, you moronic lump of clay but I prefer my movies to be reasonably self contained.  I don't mind ending on a cliff hanger, and I don't mind wondering about certain aspects of a movie.  I don't need everything spoon-fed to me, but I think there were plenty of missed opportunities to give us a solid foundation of characters and situations that we could clearly understand and care about much more. 

For example, think about Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars Ep. IV.  Between worrying if he could get to Tosche Station or not, whether his uncle would ground him forever for losing a droid, hoping he gets enough blue milk in his diet, and wondering if he can ever get off this sandy rock to have some excitement in his life as he stared into the beautiful twin sunsets of Tatooine against the powerful John Williams score, we really cared about Luke!  We wanted him to get the girl, and we were eager for him to learn more about The Force. 

This is the basis of a hero's journey!  How about Guardians of the Galaxy?  As a young boy, we see Peter Quill's mother die and suddenly he's taken away and in that very short scene, we choke back the tears as we instantly care about what happens to this character.  Steve Rogers from Captain America, was a little guy who got beat up all the time and did all he could to save everyone including jumping on a grenade, even though he didn't know it was a dud, long before he ever got his super powers.  Or how about the 1978 Incredible Hulk TV series, where in the first 5 minutes, Banner dreams of his wife and their wonderful marriage, and her sudden death as he wakes up in bed alone.  THOSE are powerful moments in character development! 

Now in Ep. VII, we get Rey and Finn, who make very sudden rash decisions based on... what???   Someone suddenly getting a conscience for no apparent reason, isn't quite enough for me to care about what happens to them.  Someone living alone on Not-Tatooine, collecting junk for muffin powder, isn't really pulling at my heartstrings much.  I care just enough to keep watching, but I'm not really emotionally invested in them like I should be.  As it was, in my theater, there were moments of lol, but nobody cheered, because there was no real attachment to these people.  The entire movie is set up for sequels, which I think is just poor writing.  A New Hope is awesome, because we care about what happens to those characters, and we don't need to see the other movies to understand it.

The acting was good and the new cast did a great job, but the older classic characters felt out of place.  It was as if older people were just pretending to be Han Solo and Leia.  Ironically, Chewbacca and C3PO still felt like Chewbacca and C3PO.  I think we could have had a movie that focused on the legacy of those classic characters, without actually seeing them.   The galaxy is a big place, and with the Force, lightsabers, X-wings, TIE Fighters, and even the Millennium Falcon, there was enough to help us understand and accept this as a continuation of the story.

So, sure it was enjoyable, but it didn't feel like THE GREATEST MOVIE IN THE HISTORY OF ALL MANKIND!!!  It felt like a way overly hyped fan film.  It just didn't make me feel like I was eight years old again.  I have plenty of other movies and TV shows that do that.  If I had to rate it, if Slave Leia is a perfect score, and Jar Jar is the lowest, I would give this an IG-88.  Sure he looks cool and plenty of details to examine, but he didn't really do much and we don't know anything about him, (assuming Disney destroyed all canon regarding him as well). 

And for all you idiots that think I'm not open minded enough to see this objectively, I will remind the members of the jury how I was really excited about the new Star Trek movies, and I was disappointed, and how I really didn't think Avengers would work, but I loved it, (read all about it here).

And now, since it seems I have failed in my teachings... I will go into hiding for thirty years.  If you need me, I'll leave a partial map in my droid.


Deeesher

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Why I Hate Star Wars

Okay, I'll confess to a bit of click bait with this title, because I don't hate Star Wars.  The fact is, I want to love it!  But in my professional opinion, there is definitely a great disturbance in the force.  Sadly it seems, most eager fanboys/girls are too weak minded to see the Jedi mind tricks being used on us. 

"...omg omg omg look it's an X-Wing!!"
"...Look, it's Han Solo.... *squeeeeeee*!!"
"...I feel like I'm 8 years old again!!"
 *le sigh*

In the interest of full disclosure, I really enjoy my sci-fi (shocking, I know).  Since I was a wee little nerdling, I have loved things filled with imagination, and creativity and always look for something exciting and different and maybe even inspiring.  That's just how my brain works.  So long ago, it was easy for me to jump on the Star Wars bantha wagon with everyone else, collecting way too many toys and action figures and cards and bed sheets and toothbrushes and mugs and props and.... you get the idea.

What made Star Wars fun for me, was that it was new and different.  George Lucas invented a universe of great characters, places, and an exciting mythology that helped us easily forget about the real world.  And once that template was created, it opened up millions of possibilities.

But with such a vast universe to choose from, can all the stories be great?  I think the Prequels clearly answered that question.   There are definitely plenty of trash compactors trying to crush the life out of you in a galaxy far, far away.

"Oh Deeesher, you're just a hater and jaded by the prequels too much...!"
Untrue, my young Padawan.  There are a few aspects about the Prequels I liked!  I think Lucas could have created a great series from them, but sadly he had too many Yes-men blindly loving everything he did *COUGH*rickmccallum*COUGH*

When Lucas first began writing The Star Wars in 1974, the script went through many re-writes until he fine tuned it into something epic for the 1977 release.  During filming and editing, he was constantly being pushed, and everything was on a budget and producers were wheezing menacingly down his neck through a thick dark breath mask.

Then in 1999, when it came time for the prequels, Lucas quite literally owned the galaxy.  He essentially became Emperor and could do what he wanted at his own leisurely pace.  He had producers throwing millions of dollars at him saying we can make this bigger and put more and MORE AND MORE things on the screen so it will look like the most amazing thing ever made!  But they forgot to put any heart and soul into it.  Nobody ever said to George, they have a bad feeling about this.  Nobody ever seemed to suggest that he was going to... The Dark Side.

And now, many years later, after so many painful memories of the Prequels.... there has been an awakening.

Suddenly, Lucas the Hutt sold the entire franchise to Disney.  And honestly, this didn't bother me.  No, really.  I was okay with that, because I know Disney movies can be fun!  Between the original Pirates of the Caribbean, and more recently the Marvel movies, like Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, or Captain America.  And going back even further to Tron, The Black Hole, and Dragonslayer.  Disney might give Star Wars the breath of life it needed. 

But that was before the dark times...

Many years before the Disney deal, Lucasfilm officially announced there would never be another Star Wars movie.  So at that time, the Expanded Universe featured in the books and comics were officially canon.  In those days, many die-hard fans knew exactly what happened to Luke, Leia, Han, and even their children.

But with the announcement of a new movie, Disney suddenly created a new fate for those characters, and wiped out the EU stories... all of them.  So every one in the Expanded Universe suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.  I'll miss you most of all Mara Jade!

Then they said the new movie would be based on an outline originally conceived by Lucas himself.  Again, I had very mixed feelings about this.  But I was curious and open minded.

But their journey to the dark side was complete when they hired a director... J.J. Abrams.

There are so many great directors in the world.  But I honestly don't think Abrams is one of them.  And for the record, I'm not just talking about the lens flares.  I'm mostly talking about shaky cams during action sequences.  I'm talking about the bland color palettes he often uses.  I'm talking about how he can't seem to properly light a scene.  I'm talking about how many apologies he has made for his directing in the past, (such as gratuitous shot of Alice Eve in bra and panties, lens flares, trying to keep Khan storyline a secret etc).  I'm also talking about how one nerdy fanboy shouldn't oversee Star Wars AND Star Trek.  I wrote about it here if you're interested in reading about that kind of thing. 

But the one thing that makes me feel Sith to my stomach, is how nauseatingly obsessed everyone has become!  Sure Star Wars was popular after it's original release, but that was a more civilized age.  Some people rolled their eyes at my fanboy-ism, and that was okay!  But now, it seems every 30 seconds, there is another Star Wars reference somewhere.  From every commercial on TV/YouTube, every constant fan theory, meme, viral video and salivating fanboy/girl telling everyone how this is the most awesome movie in the world, before they've even seen it... how can I escape to a galaxy far, far away, if the real world is covered in Star Wars?  How can I continue liking something, when everyone is shoving it down my throat and telling me how great it is?  I feel as if I'm drowning in Star Wars. 

And therein lies the basis of my hate.

1.  Re-hashing old characters that should remain young and epic in our memories.
2.  Deleting unique Expanded Universe characters and stories we loved.
3.  Hiring a sub-par director.
4.  Cramming more and MORE AND MORE Star Wars in our face so we can't breathe.
5.  Millions of overly obsessed fans gulping down every drop like it's blue milk meth.
...it feels more like a painful obligation.  It's suddenly stopped being fun and unique.

But there is good in it.... I have felt it.

There is so much potential in this modern mythology, I'm always eager to see something new from this franchise.  We have such a huge galaxy to explore, and I can't understand why everyone is so focused on the same characters ad nauseam.

Like what you might ask?  Perfect examples are here:



Or, how about this:



Holy crap that looks freakin' AWESOME!!!  I want to know more!  I want to learn about these characters and this story!  If you didn't know, this was the BioWare game, Kights of the Republic.  You get a lot of unique interesting stories and characters, all taking place hundreds of years before Luke Skywalker was ever born.

And if you do love the original trilogy and want to relive those moments, listen to the radio show.  Hearing so much new and impressive details recreated through only sound, really makes me smiles:



And for the record, I wasn't a fan of the animation on Clone Wars the series, but the stories just got better and better!  It's all available on Netflix now, and I highly recommend watching.  It gives you depth and detail to the characters and events that Lucas could never show in the Prequels, with some fantastic action!

But honestly, if you need Star Wars to feel like you're 8 years old again... you're doing something wrong.  I have had many of those moments in the last few years watching some movies and television shows.  Specifically, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers, The Flash, Doctor Who, Iron Man, Captain America, Tron Legacy, Ant-Man, Spider-man (the first two Tobey Maguire versions), Ash vs. Evil Dead... well, maybe not that last one so much.  But still VERY FREAKIN' COOL!!

So I'm sorry if I'm the one rolling my eyes by your seemingly single-minded over-obsession.  I was there many years ago, but I've moved on with my life.  I'll watch the new movie, but I'm keeping an open mind.  And for those of you that think I can't be objective, I say HA! to you, because I expected Joss Whedon to fail at making Avengers!  I was pleasantly surprised and I wrote all about it here.  But it's never easy to love something that makes me feel like I'm being brainwashed to enjoy it.

Now let's all take a moment and study other important aspects of this franchise....












*le sigh*
Deeesher

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hate

It seems everyone is eager for me to hate something.  So fine, let's get it all out of the way...

I hate the dirt
I hate the air
I hate the smoke
I hate your hair
I hate your lip
I hate your teeth
I hate your voice
I hate you freaks

I hate the movies
I hate the news
I hate those people
that never lose

I hate the winners
I hate the score
I hate the player
and how you snore

I hate your music
I hate your beats
I hate that thing
between your teeth

I hate Politics
But why stop there?
I hate Republicans
I hate Obamacare

So what happens now
We hate it all
The only thing left
We watch it all fall!

We'll shoot your neighbors
We'll stab your friends
That's not enough?
We'll shoot them again

Let's burn it down
Let's blow it up!
There's panic there
Let's shut them up!

We can bomb it all
We can burn it down
Let's make sure
They hear our sound

We made our point
We're surrounded in death
What do we do 
When there's nothing left?

Only dirt remains
There's no place to walk
What's left to do
If there's no one to talk

So let's skip all that
And find a new start
Let's figure it out
And remember our heart

Deeesher

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What's On TV 2015 Edition

People often say I need a life.  Ha!  I have too many lives!  Some of you may call them "fictional" because they are in the form of television, or movies, or video games, or (on rare occasions) you might call it a book.  Yes, books, because I can't completely subscribe to the immortal words of Dr. Egon Spengler who said that, "Print is dead".   

But for now, let's focus on television.  And to be clear, there is a LOT of crap on TV, so I try to choose my shows carefully.  At times, I still get wrapped into some stupidity, but if I'm going to be sitting and staring for an hour, I expect to be entertained.  So for the most part, I look for something with a bit of creativity and imagination.  This is quite a challenge, in a world filled with reality *cough* TV and faux news.  And considering how moronic most Hollywood producers seem to be, I have my work cut out for me.

Please note, the opinions listed here are not necessarily good... but they are mine.  I took some time to dissect my views and post them as clearly as my tiny brain allows.  So if you disagree and have a different opinion, I would love to hear it!  Just as long as your rebuttal consists of well formed thoughts and intelligently strung together brain cells.    

Heroes Reborn

Have you ever tried to re-animate a dead body?  It's never easy to do, but if you are successful, they never seem quite right.  Sure they may look and act like your loved one, but they're just wrong somehow.  Like they have no soul.  This is exactly how I feel about Heroes Reborn.  

I really loved season one of the original 2006 Heroes!  There are so many great moments of character development, and beautiful visual moments, and fantastic storytelling!  But then the writers strike in season two caused a painful downward spiral, until, like a coma patient, it was just time to pull the plug.  

And now, in some weird Faustian deal that us mere mortals can never begin to understand, creator of the series Tim Kring managed to revive the show.  I can give you a huge list of shows that should be brought back from the dead.  But Heroes Reborn seems to prove, this may not be such a good idea.

I'll continue watching (for some perverse reason that may make me part of the problem), but none of the characters feel so interesting.  It's lost that spark of life that made it so exciting in 2006.  The story feels as if it's floundering directionless, like a shambling zombie in search of brains.  I will say, visually it looks decent enough, which brings me to...  

Limitless

In 2011, Bradley Cooper starred in one of my favorite underrated sci-fi movies called Limitless.  Originally based on a book called The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn, this was about a total loser that finds some pills that makes him super-smart for a certain length of time.  It was a great story, and a lot of fun, and director Neil Burger made it look phenomenal.    

Now we have a sort of sequel for TV, and it's close.  But is it the same?  Meh...  One of the biggest problems I have, is director Marc Webb, who made the not so Amazing Spider-Man movie in 2012, and the horrendous Amazing Spider-Man 2 from 2014.  When our non-Bradley Cooper hero is on this pill, we get a painful visual switch from the generic blue filter wash, to the amber filter wash.  This is not nearly the same effect as the movie.  Dare I say, the transition on TV just seems a bit... lame.  Some of the other visual moments are interesting as he thinks through problems, but this series has two other major strikes against  it:  1.) The producer, Roberto Orci is a clueless idiot.  2.) The series is on CBS... the same network that gave us the worst version of Sherlock Holmes ever made.  Don't agree?  Watch the CBS show Elementary, then Robert Downey Jr.'s version of Sherlock Holmes, then BBC's Sherlock, and tell me again how good CBS's version is.  Do not get fooled or distracted by Lucy Liu's appearance!

Speaking of movies suddenly made into sequel-ish television series... 

Minority Report

Based on a 2002 Tom Cruise movie, directed by Steven Spielberg adapted from a Philip K. Dick short story, Minority Report is another surprise television version sequel we never expected.  

Way back in 2013, there was a great show on Fox called Almost Human.  That show was set in the year 2048, and featured Karl Urban as a cop who is reluctantly partnered with an android to fight crime.  I LOVED that show!  It was cancelled after one season.  Sleepy Hollow, also on Fox, just began it's third season and I'm pretty happy about that.  It features Ichabod Crane, who was resurrected after sleeping over two centuries, and secretly hooks up with a female cop to fight against supernatural entities.

Minority Report the series, is set in the year 2065, and would be what you get if those two shows had a baby.


 
I'm kind of enjoying this show.  It gives us a unique view of the future like Almost Human did, and it's written well.  It looks great and is a lot of fun.  However, since it's on Fox, I'll be surprised if it lasts more than one season *le sigh*

Last Man on Earth

I started watching out of curiosity, and season two just began.  It is fun!  Not much to say about it really.  Imagine a complete idiot being the last man on earth (more or less).  It's a short waste of time and I giggle occasionally, but it also has some heart too.  So, there ya go.  

The Muppets

Possibly one of the most controversial shows on television today.  Why is it controversial?  Because people can't accept "adult" oriented Muppets, (not 'adult' like that!).  In order for this show to be successful, they had to evolve in some way with their audience.  I think they did it well, but many people feel strange if they make sex or drug references.  Those innuendos are rare, but they happen and it isn't so adult that your kids shouldn't watch.  Your kids can enjoy the silliness and you can catch more of the hidden jokes easily, so it really is a win-win.  The first episode seemed a bit serious and focused more on the dramatic relationship issues between Kermit and Miss Piggy, but if they can steer away from those elements and stick to being fun, I think they'll do well.  I lol often.  

Scream Queens

YES!!  If you love horror movies, Jamie Lee Curtis, and hate sorority bitches, you will enjoy Scream Queens.  The characters and writing is so over the top, it's just outright fun.  But there is still a great horror mystery whodunit as well.  I really hope this sticks around for a long time.  

Fear the Walking Dead

I barely accept The Walking Dead, because there hasn't been any forward progress in this series since it began.  If this had been on regular television and not AMC, they would have been cancelled after the painfully disgusting season two.  But The Walking Dead endures... somehow.  

And now they have a spin-off... WTF TWD??? 

I hoped Fear would show us some insight in how the zombie virus began.  Instead we get a lame family with zero personality, who I really don't care about, and barely any zombies (aka walkers, aka biters).  My biggest fear of Fear the Walking Dead, is someone will give them approval to make season two.  

Better Call Saul

YES!!!  x2.  One of my favorite shows ever (Breaking Bad) got a spin-off for one of my favorite characters ever.  We get to see the origin story of Saul Goodman, (still brilliantly played by Bob Odenkirk).  Soooooo good!  It feels like a comfy new version of Breaking Bad, without all the pesky blue meth.  Visually beautiful, and so well written.  I love you with all my heart Vince Gilligan!
Fargo


YES!!!  x3.  Season two is coming very soon.  I loved season one, and ironically, I was not a big fan of the original movie.  Another brilliant case of writing, directing, and acting that made this show one of my favorites. 


American Horror Story: Hotel

YES!!! x4.  

Official ranking:
Season one = blah.  
Season two Asylum = good.  
Season three Coven = good.  
Season four Freak Show = blah.  

After seeing the first episode of Hotel, I LOVE IT!  This is why I say movies and television really are a visual art form that few take advantage of.  Episode one was was soooooo pretty!  The OCD in me was soothed with all the perfect symmetry, and so many scenes were just really impressive looking.  I'm also curious about the stories involved, so I'm eager to see what happens here.   

Okay, I know this seems like a lot, but keep in mind, most of these shows are on a break for six months out of the year.  For example, BBC's Sherlock season one, had only three episodes airing in October of 2010.  Season two began, with three more episodes in May 2012  Of course that is an extreme example, but for most shows, it's fairly easy to binge watch and catch up with four or five of them in one afternoon.
And for all you idiots that say I hate everything, I only listed the most recent highlights.  Also falling into the YES!!! department are:  Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful, BBC's Sherlock, Doctor Who, The Flash, and 12 Monkeys. 

Honorable mentions that I mostly like:  Dark Matter (if you can overlook the obvious and heavy Firefly influences), Killjoys (omg Hannah John-Kamen is so freakin' hot!!), Supernatural (which went from meh, to awesome!!  to... is this show still on??), and From Dusk Till Dawn (ironically, not a big fan of the original movie, but I loved Clooney, Tarantino and duh... Salma Hayek from it.  The remake is a cheap imitation but not bad). 

Falling into the "I'm just not feelin' it anymore" category:  The Strain and Grimm

You might notice, I did not mention Agents of SHIELD.  As a huge Marvel Movie fan, I have some legal obligation to continue watching.  But the writing has been all over the place.  Sometimes bad, sometimes acceptable.  But their biggest crime against humanity is the look of the show, with their heavy dark filters on nearly every scene.  Doesn't anyone know where a light switch is??  Your not Batman!  

 And finally... speaking of MarvelDaredevil season one (all available on Netflix), was awesome!!  Now let's talk about the upcoming Jessica Jones...



Okay, maybe I do need a life,
Deeesher

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Conspiracy Theory

"There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I've got to beware"
-Buffalo Springfield 1966

For many reasons, I never want to sound bat-shit paranoid insane, but there seems to be something wrong in America today.  Instead of building towards a better tomorrow, it seems to be crumbling around us at an alarming rate.  Why?  We're in the 21st century, shouldn't we be more enlightened, or at the very least, more civilized?  Sadly, it seems as if we have a vastly growing continental divide of morality.  Our society seems to be moving towards a new civil war, and I'm trying to understand why this is happening.

First, let me say I am probably one of the least qualified people to discuss social or political issues.  I graduated from a simple technical college, and other than taking a semester in sociology and psychology in high school, I really am quite the clueless idiot.

But what I lack in education, I try to make up with common sense and acute observational skills (hopefully).

Let me share with you what I've noticed:

Each week, it seems news and mostly social media, is eager to focus on one specific story.  Everyone is almost obligated to share, like and/or comment on this one grand mal headline of the week.  Recent spotlights have been about a county clerk refusing to give marriage licenses to gay couples, a "politician" saying Mexicans are drug dealers and rapists, a Muslim kid being arrested for building a clock, and a 16 year old kid being tackled and arrested by police for jaywalking.  Anyone remember the big news story about Kony 2012 that everyone was obsessed with?  How quickly we forget...

If you're like me, (i.e. human), each of those stories make your blood boil.  I read about them and cringe, feeling my heart race from the stupidity involved, and get knots in my stomach.  I watch the videos and weep for our society and try to understand why it has to be this way.  Maybe some of you will do more.  Maybe some of you will make efforts to make a change to the world, but my instinct says, most of you will sit in anguish and maybe 'like' or share the post, or maybe even make a creative hashtag in support.  Because I'm sure you know by now, a creative hashtag can easily solve all the world's problems.

But then something strange happens:  sometimes, a news article will come out that puts a completely different spin on this tragic situation.  Or you find out suddenly how many people are supporting this horrible person.  Why???  What happened in our society to cause such a vast difference of opinions?  Are the cops really a bunch of racist thugs killing kids, or are people in these dangerous neighborhoods threatening, and even killing police every day so they have to protect themselves?  Did this kid innocently build a clock, or was he trying to make it look like a bomb to make a statement and cause trouble?  Is President Obama one of the greatest presidents this country has ever had according to some sources (like here), or is Obama truly an evil arrogant megalomaniac bent on world domination according to other sources?  Are you sure about your answers?  Have you really read information from both sides thoroughly before answering?  (FYI - these are rhetorical question.  I'm not writing this for a debate on any of these specific topics).  Sometimes, those opposing views make some very interesting points that make you think.  Of course sometimes, those viewpoints are extremely moronic too.  But really... you should question EVERYTHING!  Just because you agree with it, doesn't mean it's true.  You should still think for yourself and spend a moment doing some research. 

But... could it be that SOME of these stories are fake?

Remember kids, we live in the 21st century, and video is fairly easy for any random idiot to create.  It's not difficult to gather enough friends together and stage something seemingly unbelievable.  Or, with the right software, you can edit a video to tell a completely different story.  And even worse, many satirical sites are being shared as if it is a real story.  You have to look deep into the site to see it is satire, but the damage is already done by people sharing because they KNOW it's plausible enough without bothering to double check. 

So what should you believe?  Maybe the bigger question is, why is it being done?

Do you know that feeling you have in your stomach when you read those disgusting news articles?  Last year, it was leaked(?) that Facebook toyed with our emotions.  Specifically, they spent a week in 2012 manipulating your news feed to see if they could elicit more negative responses from YOU, (read about it here).  And for the record, there is nothing illegal in their actions.  So, is this an ongoing project?  I know I still cringe sometimes when I read a shared news story.  Currently, over one billion people are using Facebook every day.  That is quite the impressive social experiment if you think about it.  One billion people to test and see if you can make them happy, or sad, or angry, or...?  

But realistically, I doubt going back in time and stopping Mark Zuckerberg from creating Facebook will solve our problems.  Maybe we would all still be using MySpace *cringe*, but the affect on our society would still be the same.

Social media isn't the only source of public manipulation.  Lest ye forget we also have news organizations and politicians.  Both of which can be extremely biased.  There is no guarantee or law that says news programs or politicians have to tell the truth.  They just have to convince enough people of they're sincerity.  And why would they lie???  They have power, so I can't think of any reason why they would need to mislead us.  

Well, maybe all is lost for us, but obviously our children are the future, so if we teach them well, we can all live long and prosper.

But wait... in a perfectly controlled society, we don't want the next generation to outsmart anyone in power.  So, hopefully, parents are ignoring their children enough and letting the television or video games babysit them.  And while in school, maybe we can have standardized testing for students, so we aren't really educating them.  We just want them to pass a test to be smart enough to work in McDonalds.  In a properly brainwashed world, we should send children to schools that focus on everything except education... from suspending children for wearing the wrong clothes, or if they pretend to shoot imaginary guns, or sending children home early because they have 'violent' characters like Star-Lord or Wonder Woman on their backpack (yup, it happened here).  Or maybe we can just prescribe drugs instead of actually taking care of them properly, (like these). 

But what is the agenda?  Is there a goal to all this dumbing down of our society?  Is there a Star Chamber where the 1% meet and talk about us like pawns?  Maybe the days of Roman Caesars are being reborn.  Maybe they watch from afar, betting 3,000 Quatloos on their favorite group of gladiators to defeat the others, when society starts to inevitably crumble. 

I really have no answers, but personally, I will not play this game.  I focus on my own world.  I'm aware of the bad things and try to educate myself, but I try to share the positive and creative parts of my life.  I worry about my friends and family.  I'm not jumping onto anyone's bandwagon, because in most cases, they're already too crowded, and I have plenty of room in my own bandwagon.  I will never share or discuss those stories-of-the-week on social media, because I wasn't there.  I don't know those people, and I wasn't involved.  I have very strong opinions, but, there could be plenty of people that disagree with me and... what if I'm wrong *gasp*

Personally, I prefer to focus more on aliens than alienation.

 
Now, if I suddenly disappear tomorrow....
Deeesher

Monday, August 10, 2015

Fantastic Four 2015 Review

There is a very good reason superheroes have always been popular.  They were fun.  Most kids (and many adults) read comic books because it made them smile.  It's a chance to escape the real world for a while, and imagine something... fantastic.  It's nice to read about someone unique, and maybe thinking of yourself in their place with amazing powers, helping save the world by defeating evildoers.

It is very clear that someone at Fox never got that concept when making the newest reboot of Fantastic Four.

And I can already hear you saying, "Hey Deeesher, please tell me we get to see another origin story!!"  Why yes, you clueless idiot, we get to spend half of the movie (two thirds?) learning how they get their powers.   But I'm sure if you're reading this blog, you already knew how it happened, because you have an interest in this kinda thing, and you're familiar with the comics.  Or maybe you saw one of a few different animated versions... or you saw the 2005 movie... or it's sequel.... or you saw the 1995 Roger Corman version.  Either way, we get to hear how all this happened... again! 

In the interest of full disclosure, this movie is based on the 2004 comic reboot of Fantastic Four, written by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar, so it is slightly different from the original idea.  The biggest difference, instead of going into space to get powers, they develop inter-dimensional travel.  And they're much younger.  Okay, even in the comic version, this bothered me.  Traditionally, Spider-man was young.  Reed Richards was an older guy.  But whatever.  

In the comic version, we see football player with a heart, Ben Grimm, eager to help protect young Reed Richards from bullies in school.  In the movie version, young Reed is picked on by students and teachers alike.  Young Ben has his own problems at home with his dysfunctional family.  And in one of the more painful moments in the film, we hear Ben's father shout, "It's clobberin' time!" before he beats up his kid.

Sadly, the painful writing decisions do not stop there.  I won't even discuss how a bunch of young kids (well, early twenties) break into a top secret government facility to do some secret experiments on some ginormous machine, without anyone noticing.  Nor will I discuss their disjointed story arc for Dr. Doom (Toby Kebbell).  

To me, the most uncomfortable part of this entire fiasco, was what happened immediately after they got their powers.  To be blunt, it was horrific, and nightmare-inducing.

For comparison, here is what happened in that 2004 comic, shortly after Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm got their powers (click on the pictures to see full sized and read their reactions).

Cute.  Light.  Confusing to the characters, but still fun and lighthearted enough to be enjoyed. 

In the movie, the government straps them down in isolated rooms, studying them as they scream in fear and agony.  Reed (Miles Teller) manages to escape, only to find his rocky friend, Ben (Jamie Bell), begging for his help in terror.  The music, the tone and atmosphere are so far away from the original concept of fun, it was difficult to endure watching.  Nothing about this is fun, or inspiring.  I imagine kids watching, clutching their mother figure tightly, crying, "Mom, I don't want to explore strange new worlds or ever get super powers!  I just want to be an accountant!"

And going from this uncomfortable sequence, we instantly get ONE YEAR LATER, and see them using their powers for government work.

So what happened?  The film has only been out a few days, and director Josh Trank has already started making excuses and blames the studio for not allowing him to do what he wanted.  He directed Chronicle, which I really loved!  And in Fantastic Four, in his defense, he didn't use much shaky cam and when there was action, you could follow it easily.  But everything else was just dark and lifeless.

The acting was... fine.  Nobody stood out.  Nobody was horrible.  They did their job.  And to be clear, making Sue Storm (Kate Mara) the white blonde adopted sister to black Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), seemed one more unnecessary plot point.  If they wanted to make the Storm family, including Sue, all black, that's great!  If they wanted to make Reed and Ben black, that's great too!  If they wanted to have an all female cast, that's fine as well!  To clarify, I have no problem if a black family wants to adopt a white daughter.  But wasn't there enough of a story to focus on, that you had to add this element too? 

Fantastic Four was created by Marvel Comics, but this was not a Marvel movie production.  This was made by Fox.  Marvel makes movies fun for fans.  They figured out the formula.  The proof is watching Avengers, or Captain America, or Iron Man, or Guardians of the Galaxy, or most recently Ant Man.  

Fox also made the 2005 version of Fantastic Four and it's sequel.  Some people didn't like them, but for me, they seemed enjoyable for the most part.  I preferred the 2007 sequel, Rise of the Silver Surfer more than the 2005 movie (even if their vision of Galactus was a bit... off). 

Maybe my opinion was skewed by Jessica Alba?  Well.... not that much.

Okay, maybe it was,
Deeesher




Monday, June 15, 2015

Jurassic World Review

(Please read the following in an epic movie trailer voiceover guy type of voice)
...In a world, with way too many reboots and sequels... comes... another reboot/sequel....! /end epic voice.

WHY must some idiot in Hollywood dig up some franchise, that was popular many years ago, in hopes that there is still a shiny penny they can squeeze out of it?  In nearly every case, the remake/sequel has no heart and no soul, and can be rated anywhere from, meh, to sucks.  Why can't anyone do anything unique or create a new franchise... like Guardians of the Galaxy???  If you're curious, read my review for that here.

Okay, now that I've gotten that out of my system, let's review a movie.  Which one will we talk about today?  Wait, seriously... Jurassic World???  Ugh....

So many years after Steven Spielberg poached a lot of dinosaurs in Jurassic Park (allegedly), someone again decides to make a theme park out of living dinosaurs... because it worked so well the first time.  And now that the public has become bored with the concept, a brilliant team of scientists, (led by the clear winner of the George Takei lookalike contest, B.D. Wong), they suddenly decide they need to make a bigger and badder dinosaur, that could never possibly escape from his pen.  From here, I think you can figure out the rest.

I was content on waiting for the blu-ray version of this, partly because of my rant above on sequels/remakes, and partly because this was just released in theaters, and the last thing I wanted to do was watch a movie with a bunch of people.  Because the one thing I hate more than remakes is... people.  But after being reluctantly dragged to see this, I'm really happy I spent too much money on it, because... it was good! 

One big concern I had, was the director.  Seriously, who is this Colin Trevorrow guy, and what has he done before???  Well, not much of anything really.  But he proved you don't have to be Steven Spielberg to make a good dinosaur movie, (and for the record, this is much better than Spielberg's sequel, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, by miles).  Trevorrow gave us some very nice homages to the original movie, and a few other decent visuals.  I particularly loved how you could read a lot of emotion in some of the dinosaur's eyes.  And for the win, he avoided my two pet peeves:  There was very little shaky cam, and there was plenty of good lighting/colors (even at night).  Bravo sir!  

It also helped that the entire cast was really good.  Huge thumbs up to Vincent D'Onofrio, and I'm eager to see the inevitable Wilson Fisk/Star-Lord memes from this movie.  But I think the success of Jurassic World, is largely due to Chris Pratt.  I'm not saying his performance was Oscar worthy, but I'm really starting to think he made a deal with the devil.  How else do you go from being the fat ass on television in Parks and Recreation, to suddenly being the guy many women swoon over, and starring in two of the biggest grossing movies of all time in less than a year.

I mean, seriously....

Okay, if I really nitpick, (and you know I do), some plot points are a bit too convenient and painfully obvious.  Don't expect the same terror or intensity as the original Jurassic Park.  At the end of the day, this is just a simple monster movie, and it doesn't take itself too seriously.  But it's easy to overlook because Jurassic World really is a lot of fun!  It does have a decent sense of humor at times, and seriously, how can you go wrong with a raptor posse???  

And lest you think I didn't notice, we also get our share of Bryce Dallas Howard...

Grrrrrrrr....
Deeesher

Friday, April 17, 2015

Megacon 2015 - The Experience

So another Megacon has come and gone, and like poetry, we are left with lots of feels.

If you've been living under a rock, Megacon is one of those nerd-infested (geek-infested?) events celebrating all things sci-fi/fantasy.  There are many variations throughout the year, from Dragoncon, to Supercon, to Comic-con and even Vulkon, but the overall theme is the same.  And seriously, if you've never heard of this... why are you reading my blog??

The consensus of Megecon 2015 seems very positive from all attendees, and I will wholeheartedly agree... it really was a lot of fun.  This year was definitely better organized and, despite the crowds, there was room to breathe occasionally.  And, to be clear, I would never say a disparaging word about something that reaches to the core of my being.... 

However... Conventions have changed a LOT over the years, and not necessarily for the better.

When I first started going to this type of thing, in the mid-90's (for clarification, I was 5 years old... as far as you know), they were held very quietly in hotel ballrooms.  One ballroom had vendors, another ballroom had props, one other had guest speakers, and a fourth had tables for celebrity autographs.  And we had to WALK in two feet of snow... uphill... both ways!!

Okay, maybe there was no snow, but it was definitely more cozy and personal.  I remember walking into a quiet room with James Doohan (Scotty from the original Star Trek) at one table, and David Carradine (pre Kill Bill) at another, and you could shake their hand and have a conversation and even get a picture with them if you had a camera. 

And for 2015, the autographs tables are 30 yards away, and NO photography!  But you can get a professional picture with them if you are independently wealthy, or don't mind going deep in debt.  Since when did celebrities become so elitist??  Well... maybe that is part of the definition of celebrity.

I do regret not getting a picture or autograph from several people there, but... ugh, these prices!!

Admission price for all 3 days = $70 per person

Hotel room for 2 nights = $90/night
(your hotel prices may vary depending on which hotel you get.  And even though I live only 30 miles away, I booked a room, because traffic and parking for those 3 days is disgusting!  One friend, who came for one day, took over 3 hours from leaving her nearby home.  Our shuttle bus driver said it took over an hour to drive 2 blocks at one point during the afternoon)

For cast members from the series Firefly:
Summer Glau Autograph = $40
Photo op at the table using your own camera = $40
Professional photo op = $50
Adam Baldwin Autograph = $50
Photo op = $50
Alan Tudyk autograph = $40
Photo op = $50
Firefly group photo op = $120

For cast members from the series The Walking Dead:
Norman Reedus autograph = $80
Professional photo op = $105
Michael Rooker autograph = $50
Photo op = $55
Walking Dead group photo op = $140

For cast members of Doctor Who:
Karen Gillian autograph = $55
Photo op = $60
Alex Kingston autograph = $55
Photo op = $60
Doctor Who group photo op = $125

Not listed are prices and photo ops for Stan Lee, Lou Ferrigno, Hulk Hogan and a few others.  But I think you get the idea.

In 2005 (or so), I got an autograph AND picture with William Shatner for $75.  William F'n Shatner people!  I got a similar deal with Leonard Nimoy a year or so later.  So, it is really difficult in my tiny brain to justify spending so much money.  Does that make me cheap, or sane?  

And then of course, you have the vendor areas, where you will spend more money than you should on things you feel you really need.  You can buy prints, books, t-shirts, props replicas, plushies, or even swords... and much, much more.  

Now that you are completely broke, what else can you do?  You could check out some of the different panels they hold in one of many different ballrooms... if you want to wait over an hour in line.

Maybe I do need to be more patient, and for the next event, I should just grit my teeth and deal with the standing around doing nothing but waiting  to see something that might be kinda cool... that I could probably read about online tomorrow.    

After you've done all that, and you're completely broke, what's left?  People watching!  And whether you like anime, superheroes, fantasy, sci-fi, corsets, latex, spandex... or Deadpool... there is plenty to watch (...so much Deadpool....).  

On a side-note, these groups are starting to feel a bit clique-y.  And it feels like some people just want to be seen and aren't so worried about anything else.  You are spending a lot of money to be here, so, is it really so important to know who took your picture and where it will be posted?  I did my Captain Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly cosplay, and people were very complimentary to me.  I am both happy and grateful, but maybe I cringe when seeing my own picture.  I'm not so eager to seek it out, but I do look around a bit, and it's always very cool when I find a pic someone took of me... as long as my hair, pose, and expression are all perfect.  Although, I'm still very honored, sincerely.  

Check out some pics of others I took (and some of me) from the convention here.
 
But one of the most impressive and important things to take away from this is... the entire weekend was filled with so much creativity and positive attitudes.  Despite the massive crowds, and lines, and how expensive everything was, I never saw anyone angry, or depressed or fighting.  There was never any pushing or shoving.  People laughed and made friends and shared their love for the unique with everyone they met.  And that is freakin' awesome!  

So yes, we all had a lot of fun.  And yes we will all go next year, and are making plans to invite more friends and create more elaborate cosplay.  But I sincerely hope, they put a cap on the amount of Deadpool allowed in the convention next year *shivers*... so much Deadpool....

I guess at the end of it all, in the words of David Bowie, we get to be heroes, just for one day.
And in the words of Zoe, from Firefly... that makes us big, damn heroes.



Deeesher

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Zero Theorem Review

Based on my love of symmetry and my intense OCD for organization, I should hate Terry Gilliam.  He seems to have a way of making the guts of a movie look like they're spilling out onto the screen.  Just watch Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Twelve Monkeys, or Brazil and you'll see many moments of disorder and chaos that trample all over my neat tidy brain.  But for some reason... I love it!  Maybe it's just not possible to hate the director of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Whatever the reason, I was very curious when I saw the trailer for The Zero Theorem a few years ago.


See what you think:


I guess I love watching a movie that makes you feel like you're on drugs, without actually doing any drugs.

Well, apparently this came and went without making a blip on anyone's radar.  So I thought, since nobody talked about it, maybe it was a horrible movie.  But after finally watching, all I can say is... wow!  Again Terry Gilliam proved what a genius he is!  He created an amazing dystopian future that felt almost laughable but still terrifyingly possible.

The story is relatable to most people.  Qohen Leth hates his job, and management keeps pushing for results.  But all he wants is stay home and wait for a phone call that will tell him the meaning of life.

The concept is simple, but when you stretch it out to 106 minutes, everything does get a bit trippy, (as is the tendency in Terry Gilliam movies).  This could be a bit too cerebral for most audiences today (sadly).  I read some reviews from people that just didn't get it, and maybe I didn't get it either... but I have a few theories.  Sure, I like my storylines to be straightforward and handed to me sometimes, but occasionally I'm one of those crazy people that like using my imagination and having discussions with others about what it all could mean.

Christoph Waltz proves he deserved his Academy Award starring as Qohen.  And feeling a bit too appropriate, Matt Damon is Management.  The rest of the cast is strange combination of psychotic and disturbing, but all enjoyable.

If it helps, this is nominated for the 2015 Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film, along with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Edge of Tomorrow, Godzilla, Hunger Games: Mockingjay pt 1, and Interstellar... so, yikes.  

If you like your movies with lots of style, and maybe some strange substance, you'll enjoy this.  Or maybe you've just always wondered how Christoph Waltz looks naked... you get some of that too.

But most important, you get to see a future that worships The Batman


Deeesher

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Religious Freedom

Oh Religion, you little scamp...!  It seems like only yesterday you were nailing Jesus to a cross, and torturing/executing nonbelievers during the Spanish Inquisition.  And now you've moved up to suicide bombers and picketing funerals.  My how you've grown...

But it seems you've found even more trouble for yourself!  As I write this (right this?), the governor of my home state of Indiana, has joined in a long history of stupid decisions in the name of religion.  Governor Mike Pence recently signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) into law, stating that a business has a legal right to refuse service to someone based on their beliefs.  You can read the bill here.

Their concern was, they didn't want any business owner to feel forced to do business with someone that went against their religious beliefs.  In other words, a shop owner can refuse service if "something" about that customer goes against their religion.  For example, if a Christian business hates/disagrees with a gay lifestyle, or a Jewish shop owner doesn't want to serve Christians, or an atheist is annoyed by ANY religion, they are legally allowed to refuse service.

In a real world example, I have a friend who is Japanese.  For the last couple years, she has finally been able to visit the US, and really enjoys her time here.  She will return soon, and we plan to visit my hometown in Indiana.  The "problem" is, she is Buddhist.  What happens if a shop owner decided he doesn't like "her kind"?  It would be a very embarrassing, sad day for us to be refused service when she has always been very kind to everyone she meets, and a disgusting example of America for her to see.

Other than very clearly promoting intolerance, my first thought is: Are you so successful with your business you can afford to turn away paying customers?  ...And their friends who you might offend with your actions?

But according to Governor Mike Pence, this is a good thing!  Hey, at least nobody has to sit in the back of a bus, or drink from a separate drinking fountain.  Let's get the Governor's side of the story:


Future reference to all politicians:  If you can NOT answer a direct question that has been asked repeatedly, you quickly lose any respect we might have had for you.  How many times can you try to deflect a question??  Do you think we are all so stupid? 

So, let's start putting this into perspective by reminding everyone why America was colonized:  Religious freedom.  Now, I'm no super genius, but one of the few things I remember from my school days, is this country worked very hard to kill the natives and take over, so they wouldn't have to hide their religious beliefs.  In fact, if you read your Constitution, FREEDOM OF ALL RELIGION IS GUARANTEED!  So why are you making laws regarding religion??

The concept of separation between church and state has always been a bit vague.  But many have felt it is important that those streams should never cross, (to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson).  I think the government has plenty of things to keep them busy, so they really have no reason to start creating religious based laws.  Common sense says, that sounds like a dangerous idea that is asking to create more intolerance and hate.  Is that something we really need in this country?

I have friends that are Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, atheist and even Satanist.  I get along with all of them.  Do you know why?  Because none of us are arrogant jackasses trying to shove our beliefs down each others throat!  Live by example, not by force.

I don't have any Muslim friends, but it's only because I don't know any.  But I can tell you, if you take a few minutes out of your busy schedule and do some research, MOST religions (including Islam) want peace!  There are always exceptions of course (i.e. Taliban, Westboro Baptist church, Spanish Inquisition).  But if you spend time getting to know each other, you'll find most people are not so bad.

I recently wrote a bullying rant (read it here), where I talked about being picked on in school, because everyone decided I was gay, (spoiler - I could never be gay, cause I think women are hot... some more than others).  But I was still abused because I was different.  I was the little guy without a girlfriend, and not into sports.  So from personal experience, I can tell you, nobody needs to live a life persecuted like that.  If your religion is against that person's lifestyle, let God judge them!  It's not your job to make them miserable!  Because if you really think God put you here on earth to make everyone fit into your perfect vision of the world, you've got some serious problems.  Get it through your head, you can't change everyone!  So why not accept them?

And all you judgmental Christians... didn't you notice in your Bible all the parts dedicated to loving your neighbors, and forgiveness, and NOT judging or throwing the first stone.  Where does the Bible teach you to be so hateful?? 

Do you want to start quoting Bible verses that say horrible things about homosexuality?  That's fine... I can give you many verses about all the things YOU are doing wrong in your life and how YOU are not perfect either.  There are so many things in our modern society that have changed drastically since the Bible was written.  For example, I recently found many chapters endorsing slavery.  You can't pick and choose the parts of the Bible you want to honor, and ignore.  There are a lot of good lessons in that book, and some that are a few thousand years outdated.

For the record, I am not against religion.  For some people, the right religion is very beneficial, and I do respect that.  Even Recovery programs elude to accepting a "higher power" to help them change their life for the better, and that's great!  I'm just disgusted with the mentality of "I'm right and you're wrong, and if you can't accept my views, you're a stupid piece of crap in my eyes".

But the biggest issue... if you need a law to give you permission to be intolerant and bigoted, then get the f#@k out of this country!  America is a "melting pot" of different types of people from all over the world.  If you can't accept someone different than you living in this country, then you have zero concept of what the "UNITED" states is about.

I sincerely hope this law gets changed and becomes a sad footnote in history by the time I post this.  It's 2015, don't you think it's time we all grow up and start accepting each other? 

Now I seriously need to write about something nerdy,
Deeesher

Friday, January 2, 2015

Crisis of Faith

Despite the title, this is not a religious rant.  This is about writing, which could also be considered a religion.  Specifically, it seems recently I'm filled with more insecurities and self-doubt than normal.

Some time ago, I wrote how important my writing is in helping me feel better about myself (here).  But am I writing for me, or is this all for you?  I do have a lot to say, and I want to get it out of my tiny brain, because there isn't much room.  But I also hate repeating myself when someone asks my opinion.  And I am eager for everyone to be entertained by my silly insights.  So maybe my writing is for both of us.

But am I "successful"?  And what constitutes success in writing?  Is it how many likes I get on facebook?  Or how many books I've sold?  How often people refer to my writing as a good resource?  How many followers I have in Russia?  I am most definitely unsuccessful if that's how you measure things today.  Although I have had over 600 people in Russia read my blogs, so to you, I say, здравствуйте, and спасибо.

I sincerely doubt I'll ever get rich writing (or make any money whatsoever), but occasionally I'll be proud of something I wrote.  And of course, I want my friends to enjoy what I say.  So maybe that's how I measure my own success.

But what if my friends don't care?  Or what if I am ridiculed for my opinions?  Or what if my writing was unclear, and I have to try to explain myself, or defend my views?  Then I'm filled with regret, and think maybe I should have just kept my big mouth shut... or my fat fingers still.  It starts to feel like I'm back at the nerdy table in school hoping the jocks ignore me during lunch... back when being nerdy wasn't so popular.

I can't expect everyone to agree with me, and that's never the point.  I just want to be "entertaining " and clear with my words, and I'm always open for discussion.  But why bother if I'm ignored, or told nobody cares what I think, or my views are constantly ridiculed, (all of which I've heard from others in the last few months).  Often, I think I should just keep my opinions to myself, because everyone has them, and who am I to try to express my views on anything.  Some of my friends have made it very clear, nobody really cares what I have to say on any given subject.

And sure, I can take a joke!  I often poke fun at myself, and sometimes people 'bashing' me in creative ways makes me smile, because sometimes it is genuinely funny.  So conversely, maybe I should just lighten up.  Maybe I take things too seriously, and I'm too insecure for my own good, (I can already hear a collective "yes!" from some friends).  After all, this is 'Merica, and we often poke fun at our friends for fun!  So of course, it's possible that I'm just too old fashioned and expect others to support and encourage each other in their efforts.  On a related note, I've heard the number one defense of a bully is to say, "I was only joking".  Personally, I could never do that.  It's just not in me to squash someone's talents, and maybe I'm just not a very good poker.  I might roll my eyes at their opinion or maybe give (hopefully) constructive criticism, but I couldn't mock anything they do, and I couldn't accuse my friends of shamelessly plugging their work, because self promotion is never so easy to do... unless you're a painfully arrogant ass.  

So maybe I should just become arrogant and that would solve all my problems.  Unfortunately, I've always been insecure and question everything I do.  I'll re-read things I wrote two years ago, not for arrogance, but looking for mistakes.  I always think, maybe there is a better way for me to express my thoughts.  So from time to time, I'll re-arrange a sentence, or delete an unnecessary word (looking for changes in previous posts is a fun game you can play at home!).  But my thoughts don't change. 

I should also add, I do have some people that genuinely enjoy reading what I write.  I am both amazed and grateful to all of you.  And every now and then, I'll find one of my posts on another site somewhere, which seems weird and cool (remember how I said I'm not making any money at this... so I'm not too concerned).

And I'm not posting this because I'm seeking any kind of sympathy.  Maybe like with previous posts I've written, I'll never know the right answer (the write answer?).  As I said, I do have a lot of things inside me, and sometimes speaking doesn't always happen so well, so I'm again writing my thoughts on a topic that bothers me.  And maybe some of you creative types have experienced the same frustrations in your work.  So do we just give up?  Maybe not...

I should just keep a private journal, and when I'm long gone, future civilizations can find it and read my words and figure out how to make a better version of me.

Deeesher