Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Internet Lovelies and other things too

I've got three quotes from the same person in this Internet Lovelies draft. That's a good indication it's ready to be purged!

But before that. I need to purge some nerdy things off my chest.

First off: I went to my first (well, first real) comic book convention this past weekend! Small Press Expo
(SPX) in Maryland. It was amazing. I got to meet so many artists and writers I admire. I also put myself into some serious debt buying up everything shiny. And oh, I could have bought so much more given the funding. Kickstarter for me to buy and review indie comics? Donate a dollar and I'll high five you in the street.

So once I finish reading and rolling around in my pile of goodies I'll make a post.

Secondly, it seems appropriate with the recent release of Grand Theft Auto 5 to remind the literary blogosphere that, no, not all vidja games are misogynistic pieces of violence-glorifying, mindless, vicarious wank-fests. A lot are, yes, but not all. Some are fucking fantastic.Some games readers would absolutely fall in love with, given the chance. And some of you now realize I've been overplaying a particular game recently and am now getting ready to promote it incessantly to an uninterested audience.

Introducing the MASS EFFECT TRILOGY! *trumpets blare*

If you're not a gamer, chances are if you've heard of Mass Effect it's due to its fans being cranky over the ending. And just to guarantee I see a few thousand hits on this post, here goes: MASS EFFECT 3 ENDING. And although it's a bit sad that the game's biggest claim to fame is its disappointing ending, it's a huge testament to exactly how much the series meant to those who played it.

It's an RPG. It's a shooter. It's an RPG shooter! But besides combining the two most popular video game genres into one package, creators BioWare made another smart move: they made the actions of the person playing the game actually mean something. The term "mass effect" doesn't just refer to the fields of energy permitting space travel in the series, but also the massive e/affect your decisions as a player will have on the narrative. And not just in one game, but in all three. Your saves are carried across between all the games, so kill someone off in the first one, and they won't be making an appearance in 2 or 3.

What else makes it great? It's a science-fiction masterpiece. It asks the tough questions, and better yet, makes you answer them. Almost like Sophie's Choice: The Videogame. Its writing isn't exactly Shakespearean, but you wouldn't know it by how much you'll fall in love with the characters. It isn't news that I'm pretty emotional--I've admitted to crying over dog food commercials. But Mass Effect 3 was the very first video game I've actually laid down on the floor bawling while playing.

 The music. It's not your standard 8-bit soundtrack. There are some really gorgeous pieces. Jack Wall and Sam Hulick did most of the composing across the trilogy, but in the third they got to collaborate with Clint Mansell. Clint Mansell, a.k.a. my favorite composer; the man behind the soundtracks to The Fountain, Moon, Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream, etc. The result:

The voice acting. Martin Sheen, Keith David, Seth Green, Carrie-Ann Moss...BUZZ ALDRIN. Enough said.

So if you're a science fiction fan but afraid all modern videogames involve running over hookers and zombies, or 13 year olds calling you a noob over a headset, give this a try. You'll love it. Just don't come crying to me when you reach the ending (it wasn't that bad).

Here's a trailer:

Another note: the trailer mentions a "very specific man," but you can make Commander Shephard any gender or race you like. Unfortunately marketing gurus don't like venturing outside the straight-white-male formula. Namaste.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

most reviews seem like a combination of vague/abstract/sweeping statements, lies, inaccurate chains of thought, irrelevant information, personal prejudices, blind allegiance to traditions, personal belief in one's ability to judge for others, passive insults, reluctant/qualified acceptance of talent, asskissing, exagerrated statements, reference to older authors and his/her work as template for how one can be better, unresolved psychological issues, jealously, desire for acceptance/shittalking how 'cool' the author and his/her group is, and other insecurities/pettiness.
 Sam Pink, Link

That. All of that. It's why I don't do review-reviews. If anything I write """'''""reviews."""'''""

Next week on the Thrones season finale: Ned Stark returns as a white walker, Tyrion Lannister has a wet dream and impregnates his leather jerkin, Joffrey starts ignoring his bethrothed and focuses on playing Black Ops II full time, Melisandre gives birth to a spectral Mary Tyler Moore, Theon Greyjoy is tortured for a solid twenty minutes, Cersei goes on a tragic late night QVC ordering binge, Sansa Stark gets implants and Samwell Tarly finally shows off the depth of his wizardry by proving he is the only man in the seven kingdoms able to make it through A Dance with Dragons without falling asleep more than once.

"Dick Cheney", Link 

Admiration is often irresponsible. You love those you shouldn’t, and mistreat those who love you. Until the universe at large carpets itself wall-to-wall as a therapist’s room, we’ll just have to get by being a little sick.
Jimmy Chen, Link

Buying fancy stuff with food stamps isn't fraud -- it's just something that seems unfair to people who think a government safety net should afford poor people modest food only. More broadly, the idea is that the poor should feel poor at all times until they're not poor anymore.
Arthur Delaney, Link

Great piece on the ugliness of food stamp resentment. Another thing that's great about that last segment is how easily it can be translated into other areas of social shaming. Example "the idea is that fat people should feel fat at all times until they're not fat anymore."

this idea that we must show tolerance of those who would deny basic human rights to someone due solely to sexual preference is the most backwards and blind weapon of homophobes. We do tolerate you, Orson Scott Card. We let you live and breathe and marry and divorce and rant and write and visit your loved ones in the hospital and receive benefits when your partner dies. That is tolerance. Tolerance doesn't mean agreeing with your hateful, narrow, ancient views. It means allowing you to live your life as the little worm you are without denying any of the rights that any other citizen receives. 
Meredith Borders, Link

A terrific response to Orson Scott Card's latest plea for audiences to be "tolerant" of his intolerance, in regard to the online movement pushing fans to skip seeing the Ender's Game movie. I'm all for the movement, but at the same time, don't want to put the issue into enough of a spotlight to attract conservative bloodhounds. The kind that rallied a cry to swamp Chik-fil-a with chicken-devouring Christians.

By the way. If you're looking for a nice Chik-fil-a replacement, try Zaxby's. If you're lucky enough to live near one.

Every heartbeat is a slow death rave with only one person dancing. I turn up the sound machine, whose thick murmur I mistake for robotic sentience, a sympathetic non-language coaxing me to sleep, telling me stories about a quaint distance defined by my very absence; for utter silence is when the monologue begins, the mind’s horror film without the fake blood, only the real self. I wonder how many pills it would take to wake up next to her, the nightmare ended, morning here at last.
Jimmy Chen, Link

When I expressed to my co-workers, also having salads, that one’s shredded cheddar and jack were thick paranoid grooves in a Van Gogh sky, or that a sole cherry tomato was a flaming sun, or that one’s ranch dressing was a Pollockian explosive orgasm, they looked at me with precise nausea. We stabbed our paintings with bio-degradable forks, barely getting enough protein, convinced that if we starved ourselves, our abs would eventually show, along with our ribs. This was not anorexia, but fear of love handles; or simply, fear of love. Fear that someone might not see past the costume of fat into the real us. But here, the collective first person faints, and disappears. It is only I standing, on some invented path, overlooking quiet hysteria.
Jimmy Chen, Link 

When does this all end, though? When do we stop having to remind the world about the realities of rape culture? When do we stop having to lighten up and grit our teeth as we sit through music and movies and television shows that soften everyone’s attitudes to women, their bodies, and consent?  When do women’s bodies stop being a problem? When do we stop scrutinizing how women dress and act and flirt and fuck? When do we get a justice system that adequately punishes rapists but also treats them humanely, protects them from sexual violence, and makes a genuine attempt at rehabilitation? When will I free myself from this cage I’ve trapped myself in? When will I stop feeling like the answer to these questions is never? 
Roxane Gay, Link

And not an internet lovely, but a magazine lovely:
...I wanted the thing that prevents her from publishing her grand theory not to be misogyny but her own perfectionism. I feel like that's a much more realistic character flaw. It's also something that holds women back from presenting their ideas in the world, often because they wait until it's perfect. It doesn't stop men from bring forth all kinds of half-assed and ill-formed notions, but it seems to stop women.
Elizabeth Gilbert, Sept/Oct 2013 issue of Mother Jones

I like Elizabeth Gilbert. Fuck you.

And one last thing. An honest trailer for World War Z, which was the straw that broke the camel's back in regard to me closing down my film adaptation blog:

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