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2017-09-07 09:44 pm

A Closer Comparison: Who and Constantine

Now for something lighter!  (Well...not entirely ranty, anyway.  Though the people who keep complaining that Constantine stole his look from Castiel need to learn to research on the internet.
Hellblazer Comics, First Issue: 1988 (though Constantine really first appeared in Swamp Thing in 1985) Supernatural Season 4: 2008
Kripke actually said he based Castiel's looks on Constantine which you can find out on the wikipedia page.1
There are rumors that he'd tried to get the rights to Constantine who could show up in an episode or two as part of the Supernatural 'verse, but since I can't find any good links for that, I'll just mention it and move on.
And, oddly enough, if they argued in a different direction, they would be accurate about visual theft...Constantine's appearance was, in fact, based on Sting.2  Of course, in the end, that would mean that their beloved Castiel's design is...second degree theft.  Well, imitation is the sincerest flattery, they say...
Beyond this superficiality, though, there's very little in terms of character similarities.  The worlds they live in are dangerous, dark places that'll soon backstab you if you give them a chance.  Constantine's much closer mentally to Dean with his devil may care attitude, the drinking, the bedfellows, the quips, and most certainly the demons.  And by demons, I'm not talking Nergal or Azazel, though those definitely play their part, but the internal demons (again, not the being possessed kind).  The kind of demons that mean you have to drink to forget your dead brother (oh, yes, in Hellblazer there was one, if lost a lot earlier; check out Dangerous Habits or Hellblazer Issue 35) or startle awake with nightmares about Hell or Newcastle.
Oh, and there's the fact that both Sam and John have demon blood as part of what's running through their veins.
But there's another visual similarity I was struck with when checking out Original Sins last June (lgbt month; I figured it was appropriate).  So I'll talk about that instead.  Usual spoiler warning.
First, a pictorial comparison.  (Both screencaps from things I own, actually.)
Constantine:

And the Doctor, specifically the Tenth Doctor:

The costuming caught my attention, and then I started thinking about the similarities.  Both stand as a disruptive influence, challenging the norms and disregarding authorities.  (Hellblazer usually goes further than just about anybody else, even in showing things on screen, including direct political commentary.  Doctor Who is usually a bit quieter about its own forays into politics: Don't you think she looks tired?)  If you wanted to go even farther, you could say both are examples of the Trickster archetype (Jung strikes again)3.  Both figures are whirlwind bundles of ostensibly British chaos that sweep into a town and cause change.  As expected with pure chaos and change, the good and the bad are about equally likely outcomes, and may in fact coexist.  The Doctor often uses his title to ignore authority figures (although unlike Constantine if they've legitimately earned their title he's more likely to treat them with respect).  In the end, they'll accomplish their goals (of saving the world), but not without sacrifice and maybe even a little of the absurd.  Both push for critical thinking, not sheeplike behavior.
It's dangerous if you don't know about their worlds.  It's even more dangerous if you know.
Both are haunted by the body count.  "Just this once, everybody lives!" the Doctor calls triumphantly, and it's all too rare in Constantine's world, as well.
Both have an impressive 'I'm fine' facade, despite being haunted by their various internal demons.  Only long acquaintances, usually, get the chance to see beneath, unless it's one of their more stressful adventures.
Both 'need companions' to keep them from their more self-destructive impulses.  (But at the same time, it's dangerous to be around either one, no matter how brilliant it may seem.)
Both have impressive titles and unique 'powers'.  Constantine is the world's greatest con-man.  He's also The Constant One, the Laughing Magician, whose existence is to basically just be a thorn in the side of gods, demons, angels, and any other supernatural things with an interest in humanity.  He has his magic, random magic relics, the occasional help of reluctant allies, and his knowledge.  The Doctor is, well, the Doctor.  His name is a title.  The Oncoming Storm, the Last of the Time Lords, The Lonely God.  He has the abilities of a Time Lord, Gallifreyan science, his sonic screwdriver, and his knowledge.  The Doctor has the TARDIS, Constantine has Chas.  More than that, though, the first weapon of the Doctor and the magician is their wits.  Both have become famous for being able to outsmart their enemies.
Both also have pretty similar attitudes.  They're both fairly cynical, though that could be because of all the messed up things they've seen.  Nine especially is unsurprised (if disappointed) at the idiocy us 'apes' get up to, while Constantine, well.  Watch an episode or read a comic and you'll learn pretty quickly that he expects humans to be selfish, backstabbing, capable of every sort of atrocity.
And yet, they're vast humanitarians.  Humans, they don't believe in, but humanity?  They'll put their chips on the table every time, and if it involves a fight to protect that spark of hope, of possibility they see?  So be it.  And because of the Trickster-type characterization they can pull off the impossible, if not without cost.
There are a few differences.  The Doctor, as far as we've seen, doesn't smoke.  Or curse like a sailor.  Depending on the depiction he has almost Tony Stark-level panic attacks about the possibility of the Real Supernatural, as opposed to Clarke's Law tech.  We don't see (or often, hear) about the Doctor's years of brooding about the emotional wounds of past battles.  He can be worse than Constantine, though.  (Don't believe me?  Watch the pilot.  That pilot.  The very first one from 1963.  No, not the censored version.  The one where he was all for kidnapping Susan's teachers and in general was terrorizing them.)
In the end, Constantine is, perhaps, the Dark Doctor that writers keep trying to have and failing.  (Barring Capaldi's Doctor, who I've not seen for my mental health since I've been eschewing Moffat writing after the disaster that was the Angels in Manhattan.)
1. http://eclipsemagazine.com/hollywood-insidersupernatural%E2%80%99s-angel-of-thursday-%E2%80%93-chatting-with-misha-collins-about-castiel/2. https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/146906/was-constantines-appearance-based-on-sting
3. Carl Jung.  Not the best guy in the world but he had some really cool ideas that you owe it to yourself to check out.  Archetypes are the biggest, including the Shadow and Persona, which, surprisingly enough, are drawn on heavily for the Persona series by Atlus.
(For those on the lookout for another Constantine look-alike, check out the Secret World cutscenes with Alex McCall.  Aaaand he's still a better look-alike than the movie version.  I enjoyed it but not as a Hellblazer movie.  Not controversial enough, which works with the TV series because the character's the same even if the plot isn't, but to change both you might as well use a different name.  Alex trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afGb47PvKcQ)
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2017-04-08 01:18 am
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Unpopular Opinion: Resident Evil 7 is a good horror game...and a bad RE game

I realize this will probably have people jumping down my throat, but here it is: RE7 is a good horror game.  It's scary.  It even has the survival horror thing down.
Gameplay-wise, it feels like an RE game.  Storywise?  ...Less than stellar.
I got excited in the demo (first or second?  It's been a bit and I'm posting this late) when you picked up the phone and Ada was talking to you.  That's something that would have really helped sell it as an RE game--Ada, talking to you, giving you directions and advice.  It would answer a few questions about what she'd been up to.  Instead they cut that out for a new girl, Zoe, who's fairly bland in comparison and doesn't do all that much.
Horror?  Sure, terrifying.
But what I liked about the originals was, well, the camp.  They were pure Silver Age, delicately balancing the goofy camp with the terror of opening a door and not knowing what was on the other side or if your few remaining bullets were enough to deal with it before whatever was waiting ended your life.  This ditched that completely.  RE5 made the mistake of taking itself too seriously, too (though no one else did, and the best playthroughs to watch are where people aren't taking it seriously). 
It didn't have fun with it.  And neither did I.  Some people love that stuff; Outlast, for example.  Guts and scare factor just 'cause you can.
But the thing is, without that early RE tie-in that they'd had in the demo (and now I'm really starting to wonder why that was removed), you could easily call it a different game than 'Resident Evil' and not lose anything in the making.  There were documents here and there, but the majority of it felt tacked on as an afterthought in the end.  Discordant, disconnected.

tl;dr
RE7 does the gameplay of the first couple entries really well with a changed camera, without any but the most tenuous ties to the series as a whole.  You could rename it and the only thing you'd lose would be series hype.
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2017-03-13 09:49 am

Unpopular Opinion: Whedon isn't good at writing teamwork

*Firefly is the exception.  From what I remember.  It's been a bit.  With Firefly, my memory's telling me that while they bicker, this is a group that actually has each other's backs.  Aside from Jayne, probably.  They don't have quite the emotional abuse that the other 'teams' Whedon writes tend to have.

          This is despite the fact that he's said he's trying to write dysfunctional "families"1.
         
           I just want to put this out there, because so many people praise the teamwork he writes.  I would not want to be a part of the Scoobies or the MCU Avengers.  Dysfunctional is one thing.  'Teams' where every member is emotionally abusive to each other are not my cup of tea.  And don't get me wrong, I love Buffy and the MCU.  But I didn't realize exactly how dysfunctional the MCU and the Scoobies were until I started a) reading fanfic and other interactions with the universes and b) for the MCU, watching Earth's Mightiest Heroes and Avengers Assemble.  I love b.  It gives me all of the teamwork I didn't realize I was missing.  It does a good job at not having everyone be self-loathing (I'm sick of angst/dumb teenager stuff--I'd say I grew out of it but the truth is despite slight depression I never did the teenage angst thing and slight depression is probably why I hate angst so much, because to me angst is stasis, it prevents action).  And despite rather large differences of opinion (re: Cap and Iron Man), there's respect there.  

           We need stuff in the media that shows that it's perfectly fine to respect those with a different opinion.  We need to stop normalizing emotional abuse.

           So, what did Whedon do, exactly?

           He gave us all beautiful, expansive playgrounds to play in.  A number of the fans writing there show much more healthy teams, or at least address the issues therein.  (Or they justify why one character they love is right rather than fixing all the issues that everyone on the show/movie perpetrates, which...really?)

           Unfortunately, he also put in place a system in which it's perfectly acceptable for fans of the various superheroes to declare each other horrible people or to glorify abusive or otherwise unhealthy relationships.  And not everyone seems to realize that, which is even more dangerous.

*I didn't mention Dollhouse. There's a reason for that.  The dysfunctional stuff and emotional abuse is accompanied by other types of abuse.  But it made sense for the story.  The whole thing is meant to be messed up.  The others are actually supposed to be good teams.

1. http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/movies/the-avengers-are-super-dysfunctional-1.3694995
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2016-12-21 05:14 pm

DR STRANGE IS AMAZING

one of the best superhero movies.  Legit.  Go watch. also.

Hey
Can I just say that I am so so proud of the Dr Strange movie
The shipper in me was unhappy by the lack of Christine showing back up again
The majority of me was just so so impressed
Like, here’s a woman who—yeah, she’s emotionally involved with the superhero, whatever
But she’s not just an afterthought or anything
They left it open-ended
Which makes it even more romantic and makes her not just the love interest
And also they showed her being competent at her job and the MC actually acknowledged that
Like, he could’ve been sexist and gone to the guy surgeon he hated
And maybe he didn’t because he knew he could trust Christine more
But let’s just look at that and be in awe.
He went to the woman who would be more professional.  Who would not only be a doctor and do a blanked good job but also do this doctor-patient confidentiality thing.

THAT WAS SUCH A GOOD MOVIE


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2016-12-17 10:48 pm

Every Star, Every Planet: Where NuWho Fails

A while ago, I wrote something on the difference between NuWho and OldWho.  (NuWho is the reboot of Doctor Who on.  Not sure where the TV Movie comes in.  OldWho is 7th Doctor and back.  8th is kind of a world of his own, especially as I haven’t listened to the audio adventures to get a better idea of the guy and his narrative structures than just one movie.)  I don’t remember the specifics, but I do remember at least one thing: I said that OldWho tends to concentrate more on the places.  NuWho tends to concentrate more on the people.1  I still stand by that, but now that I’ve got a few more years of thinking about storylines analytically, I’ve got more to talk about.

OldWho really did feel kind of random in destination.  Yes, there were times the TARDIS had a mind of its own and brought the Doctor exactly where he needed, but there must have been many disasters over the years the Doctor didn’t or couldn’t help, simply because traveling all of even his lives wouldn’t be sufficient, and the people had to deal with things all on their own.

But even more than that, not every destination had something to do with the life of the Doctor or one of his companions.  Even in seemingly unrelated places like Satellite 5, it all has to do with the Daleks and the Big Bad Wolf, which are essential parts of Rose’s life and that of the Doctor’s.  Story arcs kind of do this.  While I enjoy story arcs, they also ensure that nothing can be random.  And that…cheapens the universe slightly.  Like nothing exists without being related to the Doctor or the lives of his companions, because of what we see.  Suddenly the universe isn’t this big, fantastic place, where all sorts of things exist.  It revolves around the Doctor and the lives of his companions.

It paves the way for lazy storytelling.  Rather than dumping the Doctor and a bunch of companions in the middle of a situation, and learning about their past and character by how they react to the situation, instead writers can slip into the path of telling you about their past by having every episode relating to their past.  You learn a lot more about Ace through her brash actions (easily falling on the use of explosives to solve any problem, taking a baseball bat to a Dalek which is still one of the most awesome things ever) than by watching her interact with a boyfriend, and a mother, and her workplace, and her mother’s cat, and her entire extended family, and this one person in authority who’s worried about her, and relationship drama.2   Worse, it sets up the idea that to get any interest out of a situation, you have to include soap opera-like relationship drama, or people will get bored and turn away.3  Entirely possible in a soap opera, for instance, but in a show about the wonders of the universe?  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have character interaction, or that they won’t clash ever.  That’s life.  But it can be something as simple as Teagan sniping at the Doctor that for the tenth time he’s failed to get her where she was going, or a disagreement about the Brigadier and the Doctor about an approach to an alien invasion.  The more interesting and more invested action should go with the destination of the day or foiling an evil plot that’s been uncovered.

It makes maintaining a story’s verisimilitude that much more difficult, as in any story that revolves around its characters.  It’s one thing to have a story that revolves around the actions and dialogue of its characters.4  It’s a completely separate thing to declare the entire world of the story (which in this case includes the whole universe, all of space and time, and probably all the other dimensions that exist too, which is a very large world indeed) revolves around your characters, and anywhere you go there’s bound to be something relating to them.  Random TARDIS, my foot!  Everyday companions?  Yeah, for all of maybe a season, until you realize that they’re not anything like ordinary, because they just happen to be the parents of River Song, or behind the legend of the Last Centurion or the Bad Wolf, or somehow keep being reborn all around the cosmos.5  So, the next time that they introduce a companion that’s completely normal, you scoff and go “Yeah, right” which, I’m pretty sure, isn’t the response you’re meant to have.  And this whole myth of the Doctor thing?  Okay, yeah, impressive.  He’s known all over the galaxy now.  (And while it makes sense that a lot more places would have heard something, which makes this one of the very few continuity based things, even vaguely, that the Grand Moff was able to follow, I don’t think it would’ve reached the point shown.)  He’s The Oncoming Storm, the Only One In the Whole Universe Who Can Do Anything About Emergencies, and You’re All Supposed To Follow ‘Scream and Shout’6 Protocols Until He Arrives To Fix All Your Problems Or Potentially Make Them Worse Because Writers Have Been Attempting To Say That Their Doctor is the Dark Doctor For About Four Incarnations Now.  Big whup. 
It cheapens it, again.  So what if the Doctor wins?  The only thing more capable of winning is the Weeping Angels, because there is no way to win against them so you might as well just lay down and die.7  It’s inevitable.  It’s boring.  The only thing you might wonder is how it’s done.  But that requires investment.  And if they’re relying on you to be drawn in through the characters, not the setting, that means that you probably have to care about the TARDIS-affiliated gossip.

1.     1. In this manner, you could characterize NuWho better as a ‘drama’, because it’s all about the character’s drama, and OldWho as the science fiction it ostensibly is.  Yes, RTD made some mistakes too.  They just were a little more glaring when you look at the Grand Moff's stuff.  (That being said, I still have the feeling that the Grand Moff is confused as to what fantasy is, versus science fiction.  Science fiction requires some sort of ‘ability to answer questions’ accountability both in the science shown and the plot depicted.  How in-depth the answers are expected to be and how realistic the answers are is what differentiates hard science fiction from soft science fiction.  Fantasy doesn’t require those answers, which explains how such a brain-melting episode as The Angels Take Manhattan could possibly have been written.)

2.    2.  spoilers: pretty sure we only briefly even met Ace’s mom, in a moment when she didn’t even realize that’s her daughter standing there.  We did see Ace at her workplace.  That’s it.  And she was a better character for it.  The best characters written tend to be ones in which everything like this is worked out; the entire backstory’s written, but we see an episode here and there, not an entire season or show devoted to it.  Unless, y’know, that’s the point of the show.

3.     3. In this, I include the sudden drama at the beginning of the season of ‘I can’t have a baby’ ‘I can’t be with you’ ‘this is enough to drive us apart’ idiocy that was written between Rory and Amy.  You end the last season with Rory, the Man Who Waited a Thousand Years for the Girl He Loves, and Amy finally getting married.  But, oh, it’s a new season, gotta inject some drama, uh, let’s look and see what excuse we can find that would be severe enough…uhhh, baby drama!  That’s an issue with relationships, let’s throw that in there!
News flash: that ain’t how these things work.  Fine, it’s an issue?  Build up to it!  Paint it the Most Beautiful Romance EverTM but throw in a line of dialogue here, Rory flipping through a baby catalogue or something there.  Throwing something serious in there without any buildup ruins the realism, because these things don’t usually come out of the blue like that.  You get hints.  Maybe they’re not strong hints; they’re ones you figure out after the fact as ohhh, so that’s what that was about, but they’re there!
Or the whole thing about River’s genealogy.  I guessed it near the beginning of the episode of reveal.  How, you ask?  No, not through genius writing cleverly leading up to that conclusion.  No, because it occurred to me and I said that out loud and continued with “But nah, it can’t be, that’s just too dumb.”  Maybe if it’d been cunningly hinted at in previous episodes, it would’ve been a better reveal; as it was it was a dud.  It felt like it’d just been thrown in there for shock value.  To make Amy the latest ‘Average Person Off the Street that Ends Up in the TARDIS but no not Really She’s Actually a Special Snowflake Like All the Other Companions’.  To give the Doctor and Amy more of a link.  To make the whole ‘Amy’s attracted to the Doctor’ that much more awkward.  It didn’t feel natural and organic, which any good writing should do.  It should feel like ‘yeah, of course, there’s no other way this story could possibly have gone’.

4.     4. X-Files and NCIS are examples where the character development is given equal billing to the plot—but let me stress that the plot is not shoved aside in order to focus exclusively on the character development.  I suppose the equivalent would be the person who posts every little detail about their day on their Facebook page, down to every bathroom visit and crumb on their plate.  The story’s getting lost in the telling.  Most of the time, you’ll be bored stiff.  Now take a step back and think about that person who the minute they see you starts telling you everything that’s happened to them in the last couple weeks.  They probably won’t go into the trolly level of detail, but they still will talk about a lot that you might find boring.  (Of course, you may be highly entertained and follow them if they’re particularly witty in every post they make.  But in that case, they’re telling a very different story than a science fiction or a mystery story.)  Rather, in the examples of shows above, the plot and the character development are intertwined like DNA.  They both help paint a better picture.  We don’t have to hear all about Mulder’s sister every week (“And not everything I do and say and think and feel goes back to my sister. You, of all people, should realise that sometimes motivations for behaviour can be more complex and mysterious than tracing them back to one single childhood experience”).  When appropriate, Mulder’s sister is invoked, when not, the story takes priority.  That’s just an example; there are a lot of other personal details that aren’t shoved in your face every week but are instead taken out of storage when it’s a good time to do so.  And the interactions between the characters help drive the plot forward as much as the external plot events the characters have no control over.

5.     5.  All my knowledge about Clara is from the internet.  I’ve watched maybe one episode with her in it.

6.     6. When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.

7.    7.  Okay, you take a very terrifying alien race, where the only method of protecting yourself is by not blinking.  By keeping your eyes on them at all times.  Except if you do that, the aliens will end up in your eyes (kinda like Killer Queen’s Bites the Dust) and you’re not even safe if you do that.  So you have no way of defending yourself.  So you might as well make it easy on yourself and lay down and let them do their teleport thing because there is no way to protect yourself and make it out safe.  Maybe you could run.  Maybe?
Especially when this cop-out is just to put the female companion in danger for drama.  Let’s put the woman in danger, never mind the fact that this completely ruins the Weeping Angels as villains, because clearly there is absolutely no way The Grand Moff is a sexist.

8. I get that this is at times exaggeration.  Don't point that out; I'm fully aware of that and can defend against straw man attacks.

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2016-12-03 12:25 pm

You know

I'd hoped that we'd have moved on from the shallow "I didn't even read the material but am now compelled to go on a quixotic crusade to show how righteous and openminded I am" readings of texts.  You know, the stuff that got Huckleberry Finn banned for using the "n-" word despite the fact that the message was anything but racist.
Instead we've got all these people losing their minds about a Caucasian looking woman cast as the Major in Ghost in the Shell when the director and the Japanese audience are fine with it.  Despite the point that the "ghost" (one's consciousness/soul?) and the shell (what body you wear) are a big part of the entire point of the thing.  Are bodies (shells) as important in that society as picking your outfit is today (i.e. they're what people see, they're what people judge you on, but it says more about your taste than who you are as a person)?
If you want to pick a different movie to lambast, try Death Note.  It *could* easily be adapted, as the story affects the entire globe, but as written it's clearly set in Japan.  L is a character of mystery, who could be played by practically anyone, but Light and family and the task force are Japanese.  So if you want to complain about "staying true to the source material", then complain somewhere where you can actually justify your views.
Or, better yet, complain about original movies and books.  They're just being created, so there is no original "source material" to stay true to.  Is there any particular reason why there can't be more of a diversity in cast?  Is there anything necessitating your choice to write a male lead, or could they just as easily be a female?  Would it make your story richer if the best friend is a different "ethnicity" (and I use the term in its most loose sense, because where we start creating hard classifications is where we mess up)?
Blame the audience--because in the end, Hollywood's just going to make movies that sell, and the TV networks are going to try to grab views.  Is there a reason your favorite comedy or sci-fi drama has to have an entirely white cast?  Why not seek out some less well known ones that have more of this diversity you want to watch?
(Spoilers: Some of my favorite series are Babylon 5 and the 1990's Flash.  Because they did a good job with a diverse cast and made you not even notice.  It was normal.  There's an African-American doctor who I legitimately forgot was African-American because it wasn't as important a part to his character as his arc was.  There's a Flash episode where there's a superhero who's African-American, and they don't go out of their way to point out HEY LOOKIE HERE WE GOT AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN SUPERHERO IN OUR CAST AREN'T WE FABULOUS it was just like "Oh, hey, this isn't weird and man this story's cool!"  The best diversity happens when you don't even notice because it isn't pointed out, it's just treated as normal, and that's how life should be.  We shouldn't notice these things.  We should get to the point where we don't have to watch a movie without having to look for all the white actors.  We should just appreciate a movie (or hate it, whatever) for its storytelling, its cinematics, the actor/actress's ability to act (or not act).  The point where social justice will have succeeded is when we don't need to have these discussions anymore because it. doesn't. matter.)

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2016-11-30 11:35 am

The Pyramids

were not built by slaves.  Stop that.  Stop spreading this myth right now, it's been debunked.  Here.  Here are some links.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/who-built-the-pyramids.html
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080328104302.htm
http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2010/01/12/egypt-new-find-shows-slaves-didnt-build-pyramids
Most of those within the field acknowledge the new evidence--because that's how knowledge works.  You find new evidence, a lot of it, that contradicts what you knew, so you revise your conception of how the world works. 
They found written documents, talking about the people working there.  Overseers were full-time-it was a job.  Then there were two other classes of workers.  The first is a respected 'builder job' group, where they were treated with honor and given better tombs than your average citizen.  The other is a group of citizens opting to pay taxes in the form of labor, rather than through contributing food to the granaries, etc.
And no, it wasn't torture to work on the pyramids.  Hard work, yes.  But they were paid well in food and beer (better than they could do on their own being a farmer).  They weren't forced to work during important times of the year for crops.  If they believed their religion, they were actually doing themselves a service as well.  After death, the passage to the afterlife was treacherous and full of mishaps.  They could help their Pharaoh safely make it through to the other side through the pyramids and what was placed in them.  In return, once they died the Pharaoh could help them safely make the journey.  That's why tomb robbers were considered so horrible-they were not only depriving the Pharaoh of what he needed to continue to live safely on the other side, they were also jeopardizing so many other lives (souls, I'll say with the caveat that the Egyptian concept of the soul was much different than our own).  That's why the Ancient Egyptians put traps, such as the rock acid traps and confusing false passageways--to protect their Pharaoh, to protect themselves.
That's not to say that there weren't bad Pharaohs.  Bad Pharaohs existed.  But on the whole, they were actually civilized, despite how we try to undermine that.
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2016-11-20 10:08 am

I Have Not Been the Witness I Wanted to Be

The book is A Book of Common Prayer.  The narrator, Grace Strasser-Mendana.  The title is the last sentence of the book.  As the narrator, Grace's role is to be the observer.
not really spoilers but putting under a cut anyway )This science was like watching one of the not-even-entertaining Syfy movies.
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2016-11-09 10:03 pm

unspeakable

Well.  It is a bad day to be anything other than a misogynistic racist UltraChristian white cisgendered male.
My remaining hope is that the new president shows a respect for the democratic system he has so far failed to display to anything and gracefully takes his leave in four years, rather than seizing the throne of dictator.  And that it won't be too hard to clean up the mess he left behind in setting back any sort of human rights back a hundred years or more.

...in other news, man, I miss City of Heroes....I need the comfort of being a superhero and saving something right now...

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2016-10-24 05:37 pm
Entry tags:

Febreze Might Be a Solution, but it's not The Solution

I'm not going to bother repeating the excellent information you can find http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/febreze.html, http://cincovidas.com/7-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-use-febreze-or-other-chemical-air-fresheners/, or pretty much any of the other articles you can find just by searching 'dangers of febreze'. 
(I'll pause this rant to explain the joke in the title...there probably are things dissolved in other things [which may be liquids dissolved in liquids], thus making it a solution according to the chemistry definition.  That being said...back to rant.)
I came back to the suite to find the roomies had opened my door to go in and use Febreze.  After they'd already blitzed the rest of the rooms.  I'd already warned them that cleaning solutions could be hazardous to my health (sensitivity if not downright allergy), but it seems they didn't realize that odor maskers ('eliminators' is the technical term they like to throw around, which is really kind of misleading) are included in that category.  Fair enough; I can't be mad at them because I made stupid assumptions that they would realize what I meant.  If we don't have frank discussions about this sort of thing, it's my fault for not bringing it up.  (That being said, if they ignore the note on the door that is a boiled-down-to-its-bare-minimum-complete-with-much-less-emotion, then that's the point where I can get mad at them.)
I'm very sensitive to smells.  I notice them more than most people, and while mood can be influenced by smell, mine seems more tied to it than for most.  Perhaps that's because overpowering smells can give me a headache much quicker.
(Febreze, due to the smells, can do that and give me a sore throat, which is why I'm really not keen on it given my recent issues with potentially lethal allergies.)
I don't like the smell of them.  Even the 'apple spice' although that's one of the best of the lot.  They're sickly sweet, and my first thought is not that 'this place is clean' but 'this place must be dirty--the smell's there to hide something.'  Maybe it's the smell of the chemicals themselves--I smell those too, and believe me, they're not pleasant.  It's acrid, almost unbreathable.  Thankfully not as bad as bromine (which is the hardest smell in the world to describe and the best I can do is explain that it (at least in me) triggers an instinctive 'run and hide' reaction), but it's still utterly noticeable.  Most people probably use it so much they don't even notice (or if they do, think 'that's what clean smells like').
I said earlier that the term 'eliminators' was misleading.  That's because the odor doesn't go anywhere.  The Febreze molecules just mask it, and go the step further of getting the odor molecules in little molecular 'cages'.  They stick around...and so does whatever was causing it.  I can't really speak to having pets, but I'm sure there are simple solutions you can find on the internet that don't involve breathing carcinogens for hours.  Plus, just because you can't smell it (mold, mildew, sweat, trash that needs to be taken out) doesn't mean that it's not still there.  Mold can be toxic, so you really want to take care of it and not just leave it around.  Take out the trash.  Get some dried mint and sprinkle it around (it has the added bonus of being a smell lots of icky insects, such as flies and mosquitoes, don't like--plus, it smells good!)  Make your own.  Go with vinegar (if you can stand the smell--I like it, but many people don't).  Or go the simple route--buy a good air purifier.  Even a small and/or cheap one may make a huge difference (I've noticed that the amount of dust/pollen/problematic smells has gone down significantly.  I still take out the trash often.)
Or, if you're the type that doesn't like change...go ahead and fill your lungs with cancer-causing chemicals with every breath you take.  Just don't inflict it on me.  I appreciate it.
nevermoreraven: Photo of ravens sitting in rafters (Default)
2016-10-11 09:58 pm
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This Book Needs a Therapist

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers is a depressed book.
spoilers if you want to read the actual book; do not recommend reading the actual book unless you have to )tl;dr summary of the book:
bored bored BORED BORED BORED BORED                                    .....what the h*ll did I just read?
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2016-09-18 10:50 pm
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The Alienation of Disconnect from the Popular Literary Canon

(I should be homeworking, but it still smells of smoke and I'm a little upset.)

              
Trivia games always make me melancholic.  This isn’t particularly helpful after the anxiety of earlier today (a lot of work coming up, accidentally burning a potato in the microwave and setting of the fire alarm which believe you me had me absolutely mortified). 

               They always invite such judgement.  Why?  Things that people believe everyone experienced in their childhood…aren’t.  And when they learn they’re wrong, that you and they do not share the same literary platform, they’re outraged.  It’s a how dare you moment.  It’s a what’s wrong with you moment.

               For me, there’s no Pokemon.  Just never caught my interest.  A lot of the cartoons you’d name; I’ve never seen, or maybe just one episode.

               Gravity Falls looks interesting.  Teen Titans, too.  Haven’t watched them, though.

               My childhood?  Lord of the Rings, Liberty’s Kids, Magic School Bus, Princess Bride, Swan Princess, Anastasia, Hercules (the series), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Danger Mouse, Poirot, Perry Mason, Sherlock Holmes, Clue, Indiana Jones (and the young variations—they were actually really good), Star Wars, Muppet Treasure Island (but none of the other ones), Redwall (books and series), Bionicle, Dragons, Harry Potter, Miyazaki (especially Totoro).  The few Disney: Aladdin, The Sword in the Stone, the Black Cauldron, Robin Hood, City of Heroes (later on, but still valid).

               I never wanted to be a princess.  Being a princess was boring.  You didn’t do anything.  You just sat there, passive and useless, while the guys got to actually do stuff.  Swan Princess and Anastasia were interesting in which they weren’t the complete damsels in distress.  I wanted to be the adventurer.  I was Hercules with a brother sidekick Iolaus.  I was the captain of the good-hearted Redwall pirate ship.

               I’ve seen some of those things, like Yugioh and Bleach, since.  Pokemon still looks…well, I don’t care.  I’m old enough now that I can analyze that.  It’s the sort of thing where I should care.  I love Persona, in which it’s pretty much the same ‘gather powerful things that can fight’ mechanic, but then, there’s this whole Jung symbology and tarot and mythology.  Mario looks like it’s mostly a nostalgia draw for people, and I don’t have that same motivation.  Zelda might be interesting, but I’m pretty sure I don’t own any systems on which I could play said game. 

               Watching Frozen with a Disney-fan made me realize another reason that I didn’t tend to care much about that sort of thing.  The concerns…well, they make sense.  A kingdom isn’t exactly small in the grand scheme of things.  But the problems still felt so…tiny.  (Especially Princess Diaries.  I fell asleep.)  Compared to the scope of saving the entire universe (Star Wars) or Middle Earth (if you don’t know this one, go at least look at it right now—you might find you like it).  I got to the end of the movie and I was like “okay, I like the characters, the songs were great, the ice 3-D was blow-your-socks-off-not-unnecessary-3-D-use, but there’s something wrong” and then I realized that they don’t travel.  Not far.  It’s like the hobbit in Bywater complaining about the really really long walk to Frogmorton (hint: it’s not that far at all).  The world’s smaller.  It doesn’t have the grand scope of dreams that I’m used to.  They feel confined.  And that’s fine.  People like Realistic works, too.  This isn’t a “the way you see the world isn’t valid”, because it’s totally valid and I like that you’re there to offer a different perspective.

               But I’m not like that, and that’s totally valid, too.  I could make the excuse that Mom wanted us to mostly watch educational type TV, and spend most of our time reading.  I could blame her, but I don’t feel like there’s actually any blame to be had.  I don’t feel cheated.  I don’t feel like I’m any less of a person for not being immersed in this pop canon (I’m using the English Majory definition of ‘canon’ to mean ‘an important volume of literary works that should be required for everyone to read/in this case watch’; it should be noted that while this is agreed upon by tradition, it’s also highly subjective).  I don’t feel impoverished for spending most of my time in my imagination, rather than watching shows.  I probably wouldn’t have written anything original, wouldn’t have gone on the track of becoming a writer, if I didn’t have time to just play around with ideas and tropes and heroes in my brain.  I like who I am, and while it hurts me that you feel the need to judge my childhood viewing, I’m not going to apologize for it.

…/end sorta rant.

nevermoreraven: Photo of ravens sitting in rafters (Default)
2016-09-17 08:54 pm

Hey, look, I'm posting again

Don't expect this to continue; I had to take another break from reading the textbook because it wasn't making sense.
but it did help a little because we're talking about quantum states
back to drudgery
in other words, a steins;gate/doctor who exploration of time travel that I'll probably expand on later when I've got a fresher memory of both series

 


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2016-09-16 11:36 am

Justice Will Prevail Chapter 11

Somehow, I spaced the fact that I've got more chapters of Justice Will Prevail written than I've posted.  Not sure how that happened.
Oh, Light, you extreme chauvinist you…

Fandom: Death Note
Rating: I'm gonna go with 'Teen'.
Pairing: Beyond/Kyoko


Near has at last made his move.  He offers his aid to Light, who realizes with a sinking feeling that nothing appears to be going as planned anymore.  More have joined at the chess game, and it seems no one knows what game they’re playing anymore.  When he killed L, Kira definitely was not expecting for all the Wammy’s kids to come out to play.  If he thought Beyond was a problem, try Beyond, Kyoko, Near, Mello, Matt, and several others…all with their unique approaches at catching Kira, and several of whom may have game-changing powers…

 


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2015-07-12 12:39 am

Can I Space Corso Riggs? Or, Why I Will Not Be Finishing Playing My Female Smuggler

Hopefully I'll post again soon and it won't be this.

I get the idea that romancing companions seemed like a great idea.  I even get that some people liked Corso.  I did too, to begin with.  Sure, he occasionally comes off as dumb, but he seemed like a good guy.  White Knight thing, yeah, but that could be used to describe Xander, too, and I like him.  They can come off as misogynist, but they can learn better, right?  It's an upbringing thing.  Xander definitely became a better person by the end of his arc, stepping into the role that felt natural rather than the one he saw on TV or from his dad.  So Corso could do that too, right?  Right?  Surely they'd have character development in something like this.
...

Okay.  He treats other female NPCs like they're actually competent, but occasionally he'll say something to suggest that as good as my Smuggler is at what she does, she should settle down.  With him.  Just projecting.  He'll give up on the idea.
The Romance Flag, where he gets drunk.  She turns him down, but too politely I guess.
Flirts with him later.  He's still acting like an actual nice guy.
He makes a few weird remarks, but okay, he still overall comes off as a pretty good, gentlemanly guy.
She flirts with someone else.  It's her character, what do you expect.  He acts like he owns her.  Warning sign.
She turns him down.  He's all like "It's just a phase.  You're mad at me now.  But I can be patient.  I love you."
That's kind of creepy.  Some people would say romantic, but.  It's disregarding your feelings in the matter.  You said you weren't interested.  It really means you're not interested.  You're not playing coy or anything like that.  It might be from some people, but to avoid things like restraining orders, take things literally.
...He has a habit of being nice, most of the time, and then just randomly saying creepy things at the weirdest times.  Like his elaborate fantasies of what's going to happen in the future that apparently he's convinced himself are completely real.  I haven't agreed to any of these, but hey, if he waits long enough I'll come around.  My Smuggler thinks about exiling him to the ship, but going alone in the zone she's in is kind of scary.  But wait, good news!  Wookie companion on the horizon.  RUSH TO FINISH LINE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.  EXILE CORSO TO SHIP.  DON'T CARE THAT HE'S MORE COMPETENT THAN WOOKIE, IT'S BETTER THAN THIS.
...Except he has a habit of cornering her when she's on the ship.  "Did I do something?  Are you mad at me?"  Yes.  Yes, I am.  But I'm also scared, because you have clearly demonstrated that you don't care about my feelings or my ability to decide things for me.  Anger.  Entitlement.  Stealing a kiss.
Excuse me??   You got me with false advertising, here.  You said your product was "adorable, chivalrous, charming" companion.  What I got was "jealous, controlling, manipulative" companion.  I don't feel safe on my own ship anymore, because I have no idea when you'll snap again, or what you'll do when you do snap.  It's been a comment there, leading up to an action there, and what'll happen when you can't find reasons to stop, to hold back, anymore?  What if I'm not fast enough to get my gun and shoot you, because clearly words won't do anything to stop you??  You're stuck in fantasy-land with a goddess on a pedestal, and you get overly angry whenever I don't fit your expectations, which, news flash-no woman is going to fill your expectations because what you've created is something no real flesh-and-blood woman is going to be able to re-create.  I feel safer sleeping in the middle of Hutt territory with a Wookie standing guard.
I love my smuggler, and kind of want to create another female smuggler so I can go through the story and MISS EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO FLIRT WITH HIM BECAUSE I DIDN'T NEED THIS IN A GAME TOO.  But every time I think about it, I just...
(Something similar happened in real life.  I won't go into details, but I'd love to have guy friends who aren't boyfriends, but apparently that's impossible because any time I'm nice to a guy they take it as a sign that I'm head over heels in love with them.  At least one guy took it well when I explained that I wasn't ready for a relationship, and was supportive and actually nice afterwards and backed off from the 'creepy crush' territory.  Another guy didn't.  Nothing happened, which was good for me, but the level of unrestrained anger and entitlement about the issue was terrifying.)
Links because important:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rZu-tBi7DM
http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=432181

*I nearly said 'human woman'.  Buuut that doesn't apply in a galaxy full of a bunch of different races.
**I tend to assume people are nice.  If they're acting nice, they're really nice.  Which is true for some people, and not true for others.  I like it when I'm proven right.  I'm thrown off and there's an uncomfortable dissonance when I'm proven wrong.
***Actually, I'd rather put him down on some planet and put out a galactic-wide restraining order on the guy.  With a potential *shoot if he ever shows his face near me again* clause.
nevermoreraven: Photo of ravens sitting in rafters (Default)
2015-02-11 05:07 pm
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Checking Peer Reviewed Status

This is turning out more like a blog than anything else, isn't it?  If I had time to write...ever... *grumble grumble*
I found something really cool today.  Someone's no doubt had a class where they have to look at and find peer reviewed journals, even if they're not planning on doing that for a living or whatever.  Well, I've always found it stressful trying to figure out whether it's actually peer reviewed, and like a lot of people probably just threw up my hands at some point and said 'well, let's call this peer-reviewed' which is a really habit to get into, by the way, don't do that.
I decided to look on google to see if there was an easy way to tell whether a journal was peer reviewed and found one of the universities recommending a website: Ulrichsweb.  You type in the name of the journal, and it will tell you whether the journal is peer reviewed.  (For some of the journals, it didn't list it, but that was mostly for online ones...)  There's a box that says "Refereed" and if the answer is yes, it's a peer reviewed journal.  I thought it was neat, and if anyone else needed the help I thought I'd share.
On another note, why is the busy icon happy?  I like getting stuff done, but it's still stressful and I'm more spazzy than anything.
Anyway.
nevermoreraven: Photo of ravens sitting in rafters (Default)
2014-12-25 09:52 pm
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2014-12-25 09:38 pm
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2014-12-25 09:15 pm
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Ghost of Christmas Past

Happy Christmas!