May 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
Here there be spoilers….
I’d geared myself up to watch Castiel or Crowley die. When the show creators said that there was going to be a character death at the end of this season I was sure one of those two would be it, but I was surprised again when it actually turned out to be Death himself.
The thing about Supernatural on the CW is that as formulaic and rinse and repeat as it can be, it always manages to throw a surprise in there. It’s always managed to make me care. I care about Crowley and I feel for Castiel as he’s really still torn between two worlds and rejected by both of them. Probably my favorite addition to this season has been Rowena.
She’s one of those things that the show needed that we would have never asked for and she’s added another dimension to Crowley. And that’s one of the other things that this show is so damn good at: fleshing out characters. Crowley has been on the show since 2009 and I feel like I have a complete enough picture of his character to like him, but there’s more about him that they just keep packing in there. His long lost son, his mother, his family issues before he died or became a demon.
This show has kept me on the edge of my seat and excited since it started and I’m glad that it’s still going strong.
I don’t really like writing reviews of things, I struggled to make it through a single season of Doctor Who, but Supernatural is one of the most consistent shows I watch. It’s not the best, but it has been less disappointing than any other show for longer. This isn’t a review—this is just me saying that it’s been a pleasure to follow Sam and Dean Winchester for ten years and though I know there’s already a season eleven on the books, here’s to the hope there’s even more.
May 20, 2015 § Leave a comment
The last month has been busy and I’m trying to think of something to write here that would seem worthwhile. And here it is.
Daredevil is the best super hero show ever.
It might top out most of the Marvel movies and other hero movies as the best super hero movie ever. To put it lightly the show hits all the right beats and has all of the feeling that was missing from the old Daredevil movie. It’s the perfect combination of action and drama with a little comedy sprinkled in there.
If you’re not already watching it, get to it.
May 3, 2015 § Leave a comment
The typical nerd pursuits have seen their universes shaken up a lot over the last few years. It’s not all been bad, but there’s a lot of push back against the changes. The Hugo Awards drama has driven a world between the writing world. Video games have seen a virtual war between a more progressive side and a kind of old guard. Comic books have suffered numerous issues with the inclusion of minorities and women and the hiccups that these changes cause. Media in general has been shaken up when it comes to race, sexual orientation and gender.
These aren’t the most important subjects in the world.
Baltimore is has been the stage for riots for the last few days. There’s an election coming over the horizon. The Middle East is still on fire.
And yet I can’t stop coming back to these things because they’re in my life everyday. I’ve grown to appreciate comic books and I grew up with video games and fantasy fiction. They’re a part of who I am, but not who I am. For so many people these things are an integral part of their person and that’s why passionate fights come out of the changes.
This has been written about extensively from both sides of all issues. If your mind is already made up one way or another I’m not going to be able to change it, but I land firmly on the side of the progressive in every case. Companies have realized that appealing to a wider audience can get them the big bucks and doesn’t have to be hokey or pandering. What’s wrong with that?
I’ve been black my whole life. It’s not the kind of thing you can wake up one day and realize or suddenly become, but I haven’t always understood why women had issues with being seen in a sexual light or why gays deserved any rights. When you come from a state like Texas it’s easy to get inundated with the culture. It’s really in all American culture. You don’t understand why the poor don’t just “get a job and work harder” and maybe you think “sexual harassment is something cooked up by women to give them an excuse to get special treatment”.
These things are baked into the clay we’re molded from and it’s hard to chip away at that mindset. A kind of cognitive dissonance is at play too. Being black and thinking that I deserve to be afforded the same rights as anyone else while not thinking the same about women or gays requires a little bit of mental gymnastics. We think of ourselves ahead of others. We consider our own problems first.
We get mad at women because we feel like they owe us their bodies and their time simply because we exist and we’re asking for it. We feel like gays are different or without God and therefore should be looked at as subhuman.
It’s hard to remember when the switch clicked in my head. I remember the steps to get there: reading testimonials by women who had been looked at like juicy steaks their whole lives and felt up by men they trusted. Or getting so angry at a friend who I claimed to be in love with when she didn’t return my affection that I cut her out of my life. Or finding out how many women I cared about and knew for years had stories of sexual assault. Or getting to know gays as people and finding out people I knew were gay and there was nothing wrong with them. It didn’t make me feel any different about or around them.
I’d say it’s maturity and growing up, but then there are those twice my age with the mindset I had at sixteen. And it’s easy to slip back into the old habit of thinking badly about someone solely because they’re different than you.
The culture around us is built on a foundation of cultures from all over the world and attitudes and mores that are centuries old shape the world we live in. Even when you’ve realized the truth, you’re immersed in the lie and it’s hard to keep believing.
That’s where the comic books, video games and other media come in. Media is often our first interactions with some things. We see Asians on television and we figure they must all be like that; it’s easy to think that people are like the races in Lord of the Ring. Well, it’s easy to think that about people who aren’t like you. All blacks are athletic, love watermelon and crime. Asians are bad with women, but good at math and science. Hispanics are somehow both hard working and lazy. Liberals are degenerates who hate America. Conservatives are sexist bigots who love war. Gays are fashionable, nosey and annoying. Women are bad at math and emotional. Feminists are man hating lesbians.
I can go on like this all day.
For a long time we’ve seen these things played out in media. We’ve had them hammered into our heads in print and seen them run their course on the screen. The country has only started to come around from a lot of the older ones in the last one hundred years or so and it’s been a slow battle. The progressive attitude toward characterization of the “other” in media has got to grow up, because it’s where a lot of the kids being born now will get their first taste of the world out there and where a lot of us reinforce our worst fears and best realizations about people.
These groups aren’t homogenized. I know a woman who is a math genius. I know a Conservative guy who let me borrow gas money when I needed and has a teen daughter that he dotes on and used to bring to play Dungeons and Dragons with us. I know a really hood black guy that loves his comics and treats women with the utmost respect. I have a gay cousin that loves him some Jesus and I have women who are among my best friends…the whole point to this rant is that we don’t need to take what people are as who they are or all they are.
Bad people exist in every group, but there’s a lot of good out there and if we just stopped being so quick to judge we’d probably see more of it.
Now, I promise I haven’t smoked anything and I’m not drunk. I’m just as guilty as anyone else of making the mistake of pointing to a whole group as bad as anyone else. And to me this whole battle over media culture is bigger than the characters and fandoms housed inside of that culture. We need to all work for that.
I don’t think I’ll change any minds, but I hope I do.
April 30, 2015 § Leave a comment
A friend of mine convinced me to try mainstream super hero comics. I’d kind of done this before, but it never took. This time I started with Batgirl, which I’ve talked about in the past. I decided to read Marvel’s All New X-Men, which has been a really fun ride. It’s odd to know so much in passing about these characters and read a story with them that’s been running for a few years.
I think I’m going to keep this comic book thing up and find something else to read. So far my favorite characters are Jean Grey and Kitty Pryde, unfortunately they don’t have many storylines out there. When I was a kid and the old X-Men show was on a lot of it centered around Jean, which is why it’s funny to me that she’s been so underused (and for a while was dead) in current comics.
I also wanted to update my whole picture practice. Here’s one of the latest things I took. I’m mostly not posting these because they’re pretty goddamn boring.
That bokeh, though.
April 24, 2015 § 1 Comment
After some recent photography work I’m convinced that I need to work on using my camera to the fullest potential and making use of what I have with me. Too much light, not enough light: those can’t be my excuses anymore. It’s just tiring having to miss shots because of it. So I am planning to use my camera once a day (with no flash if I can) to take a picture of something…anything around me.
Started yesterday and got something that’s not super interesting.
It was kind of gloomy outside and I wanted to preserve that. The camera I will be using is a Canon 60D and all of these images will be shot in manual.
March 26, 2015 § Leave a comment
Like it or not, one state in the union has brought back death by firing squad and, as liberal as I seem to be, I’m super fine with it.
Here’s the thing: if we’re going to kill people we need to make sure to do three things. Make it affordable; Leave the body in a state where the organs can be donated; finally, we need to make sure that before we kill anyone we’re absolutely sure that they did it. Seriously, a lot of cases have been high profile lately for coming up being false convictions. One man spent thirty-nine years in jail only to be awarded one million dollars after he sued the state.
Really, we need to make sure as few innocent people go to prison as possible, but that’s another story.
So, Utah is going to be kicking it old school with shooting squads, but there’s one important question nobody is asking. Why the fuck are we using actual people to fire the bullets . I mean, the state goes through this weird tradition where they issue all but one man real bullets. The person who doesn’t get bullets is firing blanks, but no one knows who that person really is. This is meant to give them a clear conscious about killing someone.
My problem with all of this is more that you’re wasting time trying to figure out how to have people do something that no person actually needs to. Meet this thing:
What the fuck is that thing? I don’t know either. It looks like it could be automated and there’s a camera up top. If you can program robots to catch balls and recover from being pushed you can give this little tank robot facial recognition software and program it to shoot someone in the face. I doubt the robot will ever feel guilty or know what it is doing. It also wouldn’t get cold feet and botch the shot, hitting vital organs that could be donated.
All of this talk about the men pulling the trigger just pulls to me that law makers are still thinking with old fashion mindsets, not because they want to dispatch of people quickly, but because they’re still so set on doing everything the old way.
March 20, 2015 § 2 Comments
Over the past several days there’s been a manufactured scandal brewing at DC over the variant cover of an upcoming Batgirl book. I use the phrase ‘manufactured scandal’ because there isn’t any real merit to the problem that a lot of these people are having. At the moment the only DC superhero I follow is Batgirl. The new creative team and their book is kind of near and dear to my heart. I’ve read all of the New 52 Batgirl stuff, but it wasn’t until book thirty-five that it felt like they were trying to make Batgirl a character not trapped in the shadow of her mentor.
The book’s cover can be found anywhere online, but I won’t post it here. It’s been posted to death all over the web. Despite people are claiming fans are upset about it, I haven’t seen anyone who reads the comic complaining about it.
The creative team behind Batgirl (Stewart, Fletcher and Tarr) pointed out that the cover wasn’t in line with what they’re doing with the book. So, why is it that the artists behind the meat and potatoes of the story have input that doesn’t matter?
And the three of them are right; Batgirl lives in a much more lighthearted and colorful side of Gotham. The plots have dropped a lot of the melodrama and woe-is-me bullshit to have more fun with. Fun was something missing from the first part of the New 52 Batgirl run.
Then what’s the problem exactly?
There’s this push around the web from the old guard of niche groups to claim they fight for artistic freedom of speech, but only as long as what the artist is creating falls in line with the status quo. When an artist is willing to fight audiences for their right to put their creation out there, that’s alright. But if someone puts a cover on your book that you don’t like you shouldn’t have the right to have it taken away?
The whole thing doesn’t seem fair to the artists or the people they’re creating the work for.
Meanwhile, across the road at Marvel artists have taken their precious page space and used it to take shots at sexism in books like Thor. Of course people have a problem with it even though it’s what the artists want to do.
All of this fuss over the cover isn’t really an issue at all. The comic book team didn’t want it. A lot of fans didn’t want it. I’m actually in agreement with the ‘didn’t want it’ school of thought, yet people who probably aren’t even reading the book are telling everyone else what they should have to look at or what should be stuck to the front of their book.
If you really respected artists – aka the people behind the story and drawing inside of the book – you’d see this is a non-issue and that they’re the ones benefiting from it.
Artwork at the above taken from Babs Tarr, check out her stuff at Babs Draws.