NaNoWriMo

Well, it’s been awhile since I posted on here. Had a bit of a rough patch, emotionally, and won’t bother to go into that. I will try to get back to posting semi-regularly.

It’s NaNoWriMo time, so you know what means… time to vomit up on the page!

It’ll be good to just buckle down and get some serious writing done. I’m going to be working on my third book, Copper and Mercury, which follows my original character, Minni Masterson, on her adventures. Though, more like, follows Minni as she tries really hard to just get through the night without something blowing up or getting caught on fire. (narrator voice: she fails)

The second novel, Copper and Cobalt, is in line editing as I type this, so hopefully that will be out the end of this year. We get to meet more dragons in this one! Wait, is that a good thing? Pretty sure dragons are not good for Minni’s health, and vise versa.

Anyway, I have a few other small projects off to the side that I might get to. We’ll see!

For those of you doing NaNo, I salute you! You’ll do great!

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Do they? Do they really?

With a certain movie on its way to theaters, I feel the need to readdress something that has pissed me off for a very long time. And that is the tired, old comment that, well, ‘someone has to die.’

That’s a load of shit.

Okay, I’ll back up, if the movie genre is horror or disaster, then yeah, people are going to die. But that’s kind of what you sign up for as it’s kind of the point of the film. So yeah, you guys get a pass on this.

The rest you need to sit you ass down and reevaluate yourselves.

Here are the reasons why “someone has to die” is a horrible way to approach a story.

  1. It’s often little more than fridging. This is when a character, usually a woman, is killed off as a plot device. The writer wants to make things all dramatic and shit, so they kill off a character just to give man pain and spur on the hero(s). If this is the only way you can get someone to act like a hero, then you really need to reevaluate your character.
  2. Death is easy. I mean, it really is. It’s far easier to just kill off a character than figure out a way that they can survive a situation. The death of a character should be an organic piece of the fabric of the story, not a way to dig yourself out of a corner you wrote yourself into.
  3. But everyone living is boring, people say… and I slap them across the face. Was The Mummy (1999) boring? Shut up. Death and hopelessness is so much easier to sell than life and hope. So all you’re really doing is saying you’d rather take the easy way out and use keep a cheap emotional reaction. This takes no skill.
  4. Welp, there goes so much potential. Ugh, I hate this one. When Arrow came on it was killing off everyone left and right for the drama of it all. And what did they have to do? Conveniently bring people back to life somehow because they wasted so much good potential for future stories. This is why everyone bitches about ‘no one staying dead in comics’… it’s because a character death is just a cheap gimmick, and they know it.
  5. You had a perfectly good fan, and now look at them, you gave them anxiety. When larger fandoms pull this crap (looking at you Marvel), then you purposefully induce anxiety in your fan base, the people who are making you money. What kind of shit is that? Why would you do this? This is some next-level abusive relationship stuff going on here.

I’ m probably missing a few, but these were the ones that come immediately to mind. And there have been others who have stated the same thing in more elegant words, but I’m not very elegant. I’m just pissed. Death for drama sake is just… so… boring. Can we please not?

What is Even?

It’s a fun phrase to use. I can’t even!

Even what though? I suppose it’s just a catch all term for whatever emotion is being tested at the time. But what if that was every emotion?

I am not okay.

I am not even.

And days like today, when my heart gets wrenched apart… and have your friends laugh like it’s some big joke? “JayCee doesn’t like anything. so surprise, surprise.”

I… just can’t even.

And one of these days I’m going to do the wrong thing about it.

Hell, I’m even sure what the write thing is. The world is a dumpster fire and my little hole is just… me and my cat. She’d sell me for some Temptations given the chance.

I struggle every day… to just even…

MoviePass: Coco

Shut up! I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Pixar has always had a way of ripping people’s hearts out. They have wonderful storytelling, beautiful images, and prove you don’t have to go dark to get people emotional and invested.

They also prove you can basically telegraph all your moves halfway through the film and you’ll still reduce me to a bawling mass of ugly snot. I mean, as soon as one thing happened I knew exactly how the movie was going to end, and they didn’t try to deviate or pretend otherwise as the film continued. And that was kind of the point.

Coco, like a lot of Pixar’s work, isn’t so much about the story, but the people in the story. You feel for them. You know what is going to happen to them and you want to hug them and wrap them in a blanket burrito and tell them everything is going to be okay.

There really isn’t even a villain in the movie either. I mean, for about fifteen minutes there at the end, but it hardly counts as a Disney villain in the traditional sense. The bad guy isn’t there to thwart our heroes at every turn. He’s just there to explain some plot points and provide an emotional knife twist.

Amazing storytelling aside… I had heard that Pixar had made a real effort to make the movie culturally appropriate, which I hoped was true. From my, albeit, limited knowledge, it was fantastic. I saw nothing that was horribly stereotypical, nor did it try to completely white wash itself. I saw a mix of Mexican styles and cultural influences.

And the shoe thing, omg, now that is knowing your audience. (Mexican mothers get a +10 melee bonus when using their shoe.)

Did it have it’s faults, sure. The whole “I want to be a musician and you can’t stop me” stuff got a little grating at one point. Especially as you know everyone is going to flip on the subject later, because of course they will. And the Remember Me stuff, while important and impactful, just didn’t quite have the zing of Lilo and Stitch‘s “Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.”

But this is just finding flaws in an otherwise beautiful piece of film that even makes me a little teary just thinking of the ending… which I saw a million miles away… and I knew how was going to play out… but damn it… STOP MAKING ME CRY, PIXAR!!! IT’S UNSEEMLY!!!

So yeah, go watch this movie, it will wreck you. 10/10 Would Recommend.

 

There has got to be a word for this.

I kind of want to use Nietzschian to explain what is happening right now, but I’m not sure it fully encapsulates the current socio-political changes.

Something happened when 45 was elected. It pissed off so many people that, among his other numerous faults, the country elected a serial sexual abuser and misogynist.

“But, he had a woman run his campaign! He was the first to hire a female contractor!” Yeah, that don’t mean shit, dad. Guys who are in court for sexual crimes often hire women attorneys to make themselves look better. Women are sometimes given promotions to be put in a position to be harassed and made to have to feel thankful for it. And sometimes, an asshole can be a nice guy for once, it’s part of the abuser’s handbook, chapter four I think.

You look at someone by their whole, not their parts.
You look at their words and actions, not their press releases.

So yeah, a lot of people were pissed and there was worry that he was going to normalize this behavior. That assholes and abusers are now legitimized in their actions. And, well, that is kind of what happened… but their reign didn’t last long.

Maybe it was the fact that everyone got this feeling that we’re all probably going to die soon anyway thanks to a nuclear war that 45 will get us into. Or maybe it was the proverbial straw and everyone had gotten to the end of their rope. Or maybe anger finally overwrote the social programming that kept people silent.

Whatever it was, it was an explosion, all taken from one perfectly placed match.

A powerful movie exec goes down. The women who had been telling everyone what a monster he was were finally listened to.

When someone like that is shown to be vulnerable, then the monsters below them also lose their shielding. They all start falling like the little minions in an end-of-level boss battle. It’s really just clean up.

And it spreads, to corporations, and to the government. It hasn’t been a hundred percent successful in dethroning the abusers, but it has had a very impressive success rate. There is no denying that this moment of history will be remembered, and the landscape is being reshaped.

But in a horribly twisted way, we have 45 to thank for this.

If he had lost, none of this would have happened. The anger, the despair, the drive to make a real change in the world would never have reached this kind of fever pitch. Because that’s how these things work.

If Hilary had won, no doubt the USA would be in a better place at the moment. We’d have competent people dealing with North Korea, we’d not pull out of important treaties/accords, and we’d not be trying to take away basic human (and animal) rights.

But as individuals, the status quo would remain. Abusers wouldn’t be so brazen. Victims would see hope for the future, which might not translate into the righteous fury of needing to make a change today.

In a twist of irony, 45 did exactly what many of his voters wanted him to, that is shake things up to get rid of the status quo. Only, they expected things to go back to them being able to be unbashed at their sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. Instead, he just made it worse for them. Victims are no longer ignored, and the apathetic have found their empathy.

So, yeah, if we don’t all get nuked, then as a society, we could come out a lot better than we realized once this is all said and done. It will be hell, for sure. A battle that will rage for years to come.

But like all revolutions, it starts with a single declaration, a single shot at the oppressors. And for us, that declaration was a resounding “No” in the face of 45 being elected, and the shot was at a powerful executive who previously went unchecked.

Perhaps the ends do justify the means? Society had to face their sordid demons before they could cast them out? I don’t know. I don’t think I’m smart enough to figure it out. I just hope that when I look back on this post in 2020, my thoughts aren’t “how could I be so terribly wrong?”

EMP

There are few hills I will die on, but one of them involves electromagnetic pulses (EMPs). They are real, they happen, they can be created at a certain level, and they will knock out electronics.

But often I hear things like “electricity goes away,” and it’s said like that’s it, no more power, we’re done, we’re screwed. First off, electricity doesn’t go away in an EMP. Electricity and energy floods everything like a damn tsunami. Then it’s pulled like water from the beaches of nearby islands during a hurricane. But eventually the water pours back in. We aren’t going to be without power for long.

“But our infrastructure will be ruined! It will be post-apocalyptic!”

Yeah, not really.

Sure, EMP pulses can damage electronics so that they never work again, but not always. It really depends on what kind of surge protection you have on it and how sensitive it is. Whether it’s on or off at the time of the blast. What kind of EMP blast it is and how far away. I mean, there are just so many factors that determine just how screwed you’d be. (and if it’s from a nuke in the atmo, then the EMP is the least of our worries)

But for those electronics that are highly important and in a danger zone, there is this little thing called shielding, maybe you’ve heard of it, it’s a concept that’s been around for, well, ever.

We already put EMP shielding on sensitive stuff, like the components in planes. Everyone thinks they are just going to start dropping from the sky! No, they won’t. They might have to force land due to some systems failures, but the stuff that makes planes go have to be shielded from each other, so an EMP is not going to make the whole thing crash (unless maybe it’s literally right next to the blast, but again, least of your worries).

“But, banking, and government, and other important shit!”

Once again, shielding… and backups. There are hundreds of companies around the world which provide safe, water proof, bomb proof, EMP proof, etc, locations for businesses to store backups. For example, once a week, one of these companies drops by my work and picks up the latest backup of our system to store in one of these locations. The worse that would happen is we lose up to six days worth of work. Annoying, but hardly life ending.

Companies are developing EMP blocking concrete (spray-on concrete no less) and other stuff that businesses can put around their server rooms. And a lot of places still have some kind of paper back up and files they can use in a pinch.

As for the power on the other end of the wall socket, a lot of our power is still generated through analogue machinery. Sure, we’ve added electronic sensors and the like, but remember, we had power before we had electronics, not the other way around. And, again, people have thought this through and a lot of places have back up plans for if an EMP happens.

Now, is everyone going to be peachy keen? No, there will be panic and frustration and a lot of shit will need to get done. Servers will have to be replaced and backups pulled. Transformers will need replacing to get power back to the harder hit areas (and those areas like OK which are used to this due to weather will fair easier at this than others).

It will be a disaster, but one we’ll recover from, rather than becoming lost in a Mad Max-esque future.

Do I want to get hit by an EMP? No.
Do I want to spend my time worrying about it? Nope.

And I will die on this hill if you try to argue otherwise.

MoviePass: Justice League

This one is tough, because going in the bar was already pretty low. DC always seems to fare better on television than it does in films. I’m not 100% sure why this is. Are they just that bad at finding the right writers/directors/etc for film? Are their characters just not conducive to film? I would think they would have the same hurdles as Marvel, so why do they fail so badly?

(And why does Marvel fail at television but excel at film? So weird.)

Anyway, going into Justice League, bar was low, and it managed to jump over it pretty well.

It wasn’t without its flaws, but the film did manage to avoid several ones that it stumbled over in the past. It had three new characters to introduce, and instead of spending far too much time on giving us backstory, it only gave us as much as it needed to and moved on with the story. I know there was a lot of backstory filmed, and some people are mad we didn’t get to see it, but trust me, if it was there, then you’d all be complaining about what a mess the film was (Suicide Squad anyone?).

It also gave us just about the right amount of darkness and light. Previous films (looking at you BvS) was way too broody and art house. Films like Thor Ragnarok are far too comedic without giving the audience a chance to feel anything (I know, it’s Marvel, shut up, I’m not getting over this any time soon, okay).

Justice League was very much like Avengers in that it kept the tone light without sacrificing the levity. How much of this had to do with Whedon coming on board at the end, I don’t know. When Whedon is constrained, he can actually do good things (Avengers) but when he’s given full reign, his true nature shows through (Age of Ultron). He was constrained here because the film was pretty much done before Snyder had to walk away for personal reasons. I do know some of the things I hated were part of the Whedon reshoots.

Anyway, I digress. The film isn’t bad. It’s some of the best stuff we’ve had from DC in awhile (sans Wonder Woman though that falls on a different scaling system since it’s the first real origin film DC has had since Green Lantern).

So yeah, check it out, won’t hurt anything.